A leading North East restaurateur is opening a flagship eatery on Newcastle’s vibrant Quayside next week.
Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle and Hinnies Restaurant in Whitley Bay, is teaming up with head chef Troy Terrington to open Dobson and Parnell at 21 Queen Street, specialising in refined British and European cuisine.
Set within a Victorian Grade II listed building, the elegant high-ceilinged dining room will add a touch of old-school, understated glamour to the venue.
The 65-seat restaurant, which has created 20 new jobs, has been named in honour of two of Newcastle’s Victorian architectural stalwarts, John Dobson and William Parnell, who designed the original building in 1863.
Dobson was one of the North’s most famous architects, and designed many local landmarks including Newcastle’s Grainger Market, Central Station and several areas of Grey Street.
Fellow architect, William Parnell, designed Newcastle’s Grade I listed Tyne Theatre.
The building, which has been empty for several months, was last operated as The Fish Market and Pan Haggertys before then. It is best known as the original home of Cafe 21, run by Terry Laybourne, who has since moved the restaurant to Trinity Gardens, further along the Quayside.
Chef Patron, Troy Terrington, who is taking the reins within the new Dobson and Parnell kitchen, moved to the North East in 2005 and worked as head chef at both Blackfriars Restaurant and Jesmond Dene House.
His menus, which he’ll re-write every day depending on the freshest produce he can find, will use ethically-sourced local, seasonal produce direct from nearby farms and markets.
He said: “I’m really enjoying having the freedom to work closely with small producers and really nurture the relationship between supplier and chef. It means I get a better understanding of what’s coming through the door every day.”
The restaurant will be open six days a week, serving lunch and dinner. The Set Menu, to be served on weekday lunchtimes and early evening, will feature dishes such as pressed wild rabbit; hake; pressed shoulder of pork and bitter ‘manjari’ chocolate with candied clementine to finish. Lunch is £21 and dinner is £25 for three courses.
A refined à la carte menu will also be served in the evening with dishes such as smoked wild duck breast, sea buckthorn, chicory, and linseed crisps to start and turbot cooked on the bone for the main course. A tasting menu with matching wines will also be introduced to the menu.
Florin Stan, who has worked at venues such as Slaley Hall and Doxford Hall, has been appointed as Dobson and Parnell’s restaurant manager
Andy Hook said: “I fell in love with this site the first time I saw it. That was back in in the mid-nineties when I used to peer longingly through the windows at the elegant Victorian dining room and happy diners. It’s perfectly proportioned as a restaurant with a cavernous kitchen ideally suited for Troy’s innovative and creative cooking.
“What’s more, Newcastle’s Quayside has experienced a revival of top-notch restaurants and bars in the past year, so when we saw an opportunity to open in such a vibrant location, we just couldn’t resist.”
He added: “Dobson and Parnell will be a smart, grown-up, food and wine-led restaurant run by a brilliant team of professionals I’ve personally hand-picked.
“We’re branching out a little from the British dishes we focus on at Blackfriars and Hinnies, to specialise in perfectly-executed, refined modern cuisine. We’ll also have a strong focus on sustainability, and our kitchen will specialise in preserving techniques such as curing, smoking, salting, brining and fermenting.
“It’s an exciting time to join the Quayside dining renaissance and we’re looking forward to being the new kid on the block within one of the most beautiful Victorian buildings in this area of the city.”
The restaurant will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 12-2.30pm and from 5.30 till 9.30pm. It will also be open for lunch on Sundays from 12-4pm.
Earlier this year, Andy opened Hinnies in Whitley Bay, returning to the coast ten years after opening his first restaurant – Sidney’s in Tynemouth.
Hinnies offers Geordie comfort food and won the OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award within the first few months of opening. The restaurant has now been shortlisted for Best New Business in the North Tyneside Awards (to be announced on December 2).
Meanwhile, at Blackfriars Restaurant, Andy has further plans to expand into the unused areas of the historic 13th Century building at the beginning of 2017 including a new Parlour, Workshop and Tasting Room, as well as a refurbishment of the existing restaurant.
Andy took over the running of the medieval friary in 2001 and it has since become one of the best-known restaurants in the city, winning the Taste of England accolade at the North East England Tourism Awards.