The self-proclaimed gastropub (are we keeping that word?) from the Jesmond Dene House team has been a long time coming but is finally open. Though initially very exciting chef Shaun Hurrell has now left for similarly exciting venture The Trial Shift, it’s all being watched over by exec. chef Michael Penaluna so you’d expect the same high standards he commands over the JDH kitchen.
It seems like a while since there’s been yet another afternoon tea post on here – to be honest, I thought I’d found afternoon tea perfection at The Cleveland Tontine and the search could end there. But everyone who has ever bought a cake stand seems to be putting on afternoon tea now – I’ve even seen it at a few pubs in town which, by the way IS JUST WRONG.
Anyway, there’s been a lot of chatter recently about somewhere quality in Northumberland doing good with all things pastry. I hadn’t heard of it myself, but The Running Fox in Felton (NE65 9EA) is a bakery/hyperlocal cafe which, having been open for four years, are doing pretty well for themselves right now. I’m usually sceptical of the smaller, lesser known café – more infamous for the morning visit from the Brakes/3663 van, so thought maybe this was another case of Twitter people riding the hype train.
But colour me impressed, it’s fab.
This Thursday sees Kate Humble launch her new book “Humble by Nature”, at one of our favourite new foodie places – Vallum Farm. Aside from interviews and Q&A with Kate and local weather girl Hannah Bayman, our eyes and bellies are on David Kennedy & his restaurant team at Vallum, who are putting on some hyper local food for the night. Surely veg-lord Ken Holland & his North Country Growers will be providing something fresh from the days harvest as well.
Rightfully so, cheese from the Northumberland Cheese Company is pretty much ubiquitous now. Think you’ve never had it? You have – it’s used in menus across the North East – soufflés, on cheese boards, and in tarts at all your favourite restaurants. We’ve had probably too much of it over the years, and it’s popular across the region because it is amongst the best. Whether at the dairy/tea room itself, or chomping wedges from the Quayside market, it’s just great that we have such a reliable and reputable producer in our region.
There’s been lots going on over at Vallum Farm recently – and to celebrate, they are throwing a right gala this weekend celebrating the North East’s best food, drink, and craft producers at their new event down on the farm.
The Vallum Christmas Fayre takes place in their newly renovated “Old Cow Barn”, and sees some of the best local producers come together selling tapas sized snacks (similar to this), at a family & foodie based event, this Saturday 17th November only.
Of course our interest lies in the foodie side of it – there will be dozens of stalls and scran from Riley’s Fish Shack, Bywell Smokery and more, as well as those chef demos we can’t pull ourselves away from. One of these is from David Kennedy of River Cafe, and Food Social fame, who happens to be opening a new restaurant at Vallum that we are pretty excited about. An adjoining farm shop/deli extension to the existing ice cream parlour should be very popular, and it’s vegetables will no doubt come from similarly local vegetable god Ken Holland and his North Country Growers – producing some of the best veg produced in this country, if not the world.
We’ll definitely be there – you should be too. Support your local farmers & producers!
Best French Restaurant
When our favourite little Quayside cafe, Bistro Buee closed down a couple of years ago, it left a sad looking gap in the market for French food in the area. Overlooking chain-type Café Rouge, it’s only actually Bouchon Bistrot (NE46 3NJ) that springs to mind. Is classic French food just too much for our little Geordie palettes?
Everyone has probably heard of, or seen the Northumberland Cheese Company’s cheese – be it at the Quayside market, on any decently sourced menu throughout the region, or even eaten the raw and delicious product by itself – but who knew they had a teeny shop right at their dairy farm (NE13 6BZ)?
Visitors can arrange a tour of the dairy, though once you’ve seen one vat of milk churning, perhaps you’ve seen them all. Just upstairs, however, hides an almost treehouse-like cafe, where you can buy the cheese direct from the source to take home, in big gift packs, enjoy in a sandwich, or as we have here, melted and drizzled onto everything!
Update: Only last night the Feathers was voted British Pub of the Year! Well done guys!
After seeing the Feathers Inn (NE43 7SW) in the Good Food Guide 2011, and knowing they were hosting a British wines and ciders festival recently, we obviously had to tick it off the list. Perched atop the lovely little town of Hedley on the Hill, the pub is a gorgeous stone bricked old inn, a typical “locals” country pub.
Simply can’t get enough of this - managed to find the Holy Grail of Doddington ice creams - Newcastle Brown Ale flavour. Spent nearly a year trying to find it somewhere, and Corbridge Larder Morpeth comes up trumps! I had guessed that “dog” would be a bit delicate for ice cream - and this flavour is more like brown ale fudge chunks (can we get this as a standalone product?) - still amazingly creamy and rich though, but double ginger…
In the morning, Blagdon farm shop brings out freshly made sausage rolls - still warm, on the counter at the till. It’s not hyperbole when I say these are the best sausage rolls you can get in the North East! Amazing. 89p each. Blagdon Farm Shop NE13 6DA
Ultra-creamy fig ice-cream cone from Doddington dairy hits the spot on a lovely spring day. Check out their stall just outside the Civic Centre - today only!