Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flagship Friary's Refurb Finished

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flagship Friary's Refurb Finished

Article excerpt


ALEADING North East restaurateur is poised to unveil the results of huge investment at his flagship restaurant, where disused sections have been given a new lease of life.

Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars Restaurant for 16 years, has devoted several years to an ambitious scheme to renovate several empty areas of the 13th-century medieval friary in the heart of Newcastle.

Plans include bringing the friary's parlour and library rooms back into use, and Mr Hook - who also recently opened Dobson & Parnell on Newcastle Quayside - commissioned local craftsmen to painstakingly refurbish the dining room, which served as the friary's refectory, resulting in additional seating and an open kitchen.

The parlour, which is next to the restaurant, was originally the waiting room for visitors to the friary. For many years it was a gift shop, but it has been refurbished by traditional craftsmen to create a unique setting where guests can enjoy a drink before or after their meal.

The rooms above the restaurant, formerly the libraries for the Dominican friars and meeting rooms for the city's crafts guilds, now house a larger 14-seat Cookery Workshop where the Blackfriars team will expand the number of workshops they host, to include bread-making, dinner party cooking, kids' cookery classes and corporate events.

Customers can also now dine in the workshop to sample the food they have been cooking.

Above the restaurant's dining room, the team has also opened the former tanners' meeting house as a tasting room, featuring antique 19thcentury seating, which will now cater for a range of corporate and private events, including wine, beer and whisky tasting for up to 40 people.

The main restaurant has also undergone refurbishment, increasing capacity to 90 people with additional booth seating. …

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