Taste of France coming to Newcastle

A new venue is opening in central Newcastle that offers an informal take on traditional French cuisine alongside a range of specially-sourced fine wines, and will create at least 10 new jobs in the process.

The French Quarter will open in the old Railway Arches on Westgate Road in the coming weeks to offer a French-style café experience alongside Tapas-style French dishes and fine wines in a casual, relaxed setting.

The two-storey venue’s name is inspired by the four elements offered by The French Quarter – it will be a café, wine bar, bistrot and market and will be open from breakfast until late evening. One unique feature will be the opportunity to purchase refillable bottles of wine, which will be filled directly from a barrel.

The French Quarter is the first venture in England by Cedric Boc-Ho, who hails from the Loire Valley in France, and his partner Catherine Metcalfe, from Northumberland. Since meeting in the Alps seven years ago, the pair have dreamed of opening a restaurant which combines Cedric’s knowledge and love for French food and wine with Catherine’s passion for informal dining and traditional, independent businesses.

The restaurant will create an initial 10 jobs, with more planned as it continues to grow. Having been inundated with job applications – with every applicant having some connection with France or a long-standing passion for French food or wine – The French Quarter now has a strong team in place ready for its opening next month.

Cedric, a wine enthusiast who holds a WSET level 3 qualification, is also looking to offer wine tasting experiences to groups across the region, either in The French Quarter’s private dining space or on a more personal level in a client’s home or business premises.

“It has been my dream to open a restaurant for so many years, since I was very young, and when Catherine and I moved to England and we found this site in The Arches, it felt like the perfect place to do that,” said Cedric.

“The French Quarter will bring something new. Newcastle is a city which already has a wide variety of restaurants, cafes and bars, but there is nothing like this. We are creating a meeting space for people to meet however they want, whether that is with a coffee and pastry, over a glass of wine, or in a bistro environment.

“But what is important is the informality. Here people are welcome to ask questions, to try our products and to share our passions for wine and food but equally they can sit back, relax and discover for themselves.”

Hexham-born Catherine said: “This is a huge project for us which we have planned for so long, and it is really exciting that we are almost ready to open our doors.

“Being part of an independent business community was an important factor from the outset, so we are really pleased with the location we have chosen, especially being so close to where I am from.”

Cedric and Catherine have been supported in their plans by Newcastle law firm Sintons, with the firm’s Head of Licensing Sarah Smith securing a license for The French Quarter.

Sarah Smith said: “Even in a city as vibrant and diverse as Newcastle there is always room for something new and different, and The French Quarter is just that. The combination of high quality and informality is a winning formula.

“Throughout the licensing process I have been hugely impressed by Cedric and Catherine’s passion for the project and their dedication to detail. We wish them and their team every success.”

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