Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ian Will Carry on His Winning Way

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ian Will Carry on His Winning Way

Article excerpt

Byline: By Geoff Laws

Last year, Terry Laybourne decided to sell his Ponteland restaurant and Ian Lowrey took the momentous step of going it alone, and what a good decision that turned out to be.

Under Terry, the chefs in this bustling bistro produced consistently good food, using top quality ingredients in imaginative and modern recipes. Under Ian the standard is exactly the same.

Not surprising really because Ian was head chef for Terry and now shines brightly in his own firmament at Cafe Lowrey in Darras Hall, Northumberland.

The evidence lies in each dish. Ian's sardines in lemon oil makes the healthy option of oily fish a great appetiser. A trio of silvery fish, quickly grilled and shiny with citrus oil, was delicious proof.

His anchovy-free, vegetarian take on Caesar salad, relies on the blue cheese dressing for savour, with the expected crunch lying in the lettuce and croutons. Plenty of crusty bread for mopping up juices and the like, leave clean plates all round.

Main courses offer a shoal of fish dishes, but I couldn't resist the rack of lamb with fondant potato and Provenial vegetables. Two meaty chops, their polished spindle bones crossed like heraldic swords, lay on a mix of vegetables and glossy gravy. A firm cushion of potato, more "sit on" than "sink into", added the finishing touch to a very tasty dish.

My companion worked her way through one of her favourites, confit of duck. This time it came with mustard mash, fine beans and rosemary and thyme jus. The meat fell effortlessly from the bone in soft shards. Firm beans, a generous scoop of mustard-spiked mash and herby jus were just what the rich meat needed to make this completely satisfying.

Desserts kept the flag of quality flying. My tumbler of coconut Bavarois, a creamy coconut mousse, came with a delicious top dressing of diced pineapple soaked in reduced Cointreau. …

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