Dobson And Parnell Newcastle Review

21 Queen Street gets its mojo back ūüĎĎ

Dobson & Parnell¬†is¬†the newest venture from Team Blackfriars. They¬†must be doing¬†well – last year’s¬†Hinnies seems to have kickstarted a long overdue Whitley Bay restaurant renaissance, and now they’ve¬†taken on one of Newcastle’s most hallowed restaurant sites – 21 Queen Street (NE1 3UG). The name, for the curious, comes from the designers of the grade II listed building – way back in 1863.

I was definitely trepidatious before visiting. That abysmal “I’ve never had my napkin replaced so I don’t know what good service is” Chronicle review. And pics of some canny¬†“cheffy” dishes – dots and garnishes¬†abound. But head chef Troy Terrington spent a lot of time as a safe pair of hands at Blackfriars, before moving on to Jesmond Dene House. Coming here to really take the reins might give him the chance to cook¬†what he’s always wanted to.

Luckily, there was nowt to be worried about. Dobson & Parnell is the kind of restaurant befitting of somewhere like 21 Queen Street, and a worthy addition to Newcastle’s “make a special trip for it” Quayside dining right alongside places like 21 and The Broad Chare.

dobson parnell snacks

While I’m not old enough to remember the¬†Michelin-starred restaurant that sat here 20 years ago, I did have¬†some lovely meals at Pan Haggerty when that was a thing. It was a smart restaurant then, and it’s an even smarter one now. You’ve got that extra finish¬†that most places don’t get, and you¬†can tell they’re aiming high(er) end as soon as you walk through the door. Service is slick, professional, and like everything else, generally well polished.¬†That wine glass is always topped up, though christ, the musical choices – Canon in D and other classical compositions, are as stuffy as you could imagine.

Anyway, a delicious morsel of glance-at-it-and-it-falls-apart BBQ¬†lamb on flaky pastry disc with a dab¬†of a mint oil was more than enough to wake up the tastebuds.¬†House bread (and lovage butter ūüėć) is presumably the same as at Blackfriars – dense, chewy and a pleasant warm up.

The wine list is sensible but well thought out – our ¬£29 Viognier was worth the ¬£¬†and other wines topped out at about ¬£40 so you’re never in extortion-land. The set menu (530-7pm),¬†with three choices each of 3c, is exceptional value at the moment. Normally ¬£25, but until Feb 13 – two for one.

dobson and parnell newcastle goasts cheese mousse

Anyway, starters¬†arrived¬†promptly. Yes,¬†goats cheese and beetroot has been done to death, but with a crunchy granola crumb to bring it all together, this was an ace version of it. See also – Kate’s Shields crab with fennel – tried and tested but well executed. Think¬†Peace & Loaf, without Dave’s playfulness.

Set menu mains were¬†conspicuously shy of red meat – risotto, stone bass, and chicken. Kinda nitpicking, as the¬†stone bass was a treat – meaty, cooked just so, and the clam frumenty (hint¬†of Blackfriars influence?), was an interesting and filling match for it. And bread + clam juices = ūüĎĆūüŹĽ. Stupidly forgot to order triple cooked chips, which look fab.

I’d normally steer clear of a chicken main, but when you get a good one, oh you remember what chicken should¬†be like.¬†A¬†much bigger portion that I’d expected, though kale, carrot, cauli…it wouldn’t feel out of place on a Sunday afternoon. A pimped up, delicious Sunday lunch, but not anything mould-breaking, which was a little disappointing.

dobson and parnell newcastle chicken

Desserts were very solid, both almond biscuit/red wine figs/pickled plums, and chocolate/pistachio/clementine ticked all the right boxes Рnot too sweet, a lot more lively, and a more interesting twist of flavours, textures, and temperatures.

Coffee & homemade fudge came with a bill for ¬£63 for 2.¬†They’ve got a tasting menu launching¬†soon which tells you the ambitions here – chasing that market just¬†above what Blackfriars does. Remember when ‘they’ said House of Tides couldn’t fill January mid-week seats with¬†a ¬£70 quid menu? Pah.

If you’re¬†a¬†la carte, mains are ¬£12-¬£18 – bear in mind that’s about as much as you’ll pay at somewhere grim like Harry’s Bar, but here you’re¬†getting something that bit special. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already, especially¬†in the coming months¬†as¬†it matures. And¬†remember that this¬†opened at the same time as Giraffe, and all that¬†other Eldon Square shite, so make sure your 2017 is filled with more places like Dobson & Parnell.


Food hygiene rating: Not yet rated

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