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Arts & Culture

Restauranteur brings Victorian splendour to Newcastle’s Quayside 

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 and comfort 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.

John Dobson was one of the North’s most famous architects and was responsible for the design of many local landmarks including Newcastle’s Grainger Market, Central Station and several areas of Grey Street, whilst fellow architect William Parnell designed Newcastle’s Grade I listed Tyne Theatre.

After the 1854 Quayside fire, the Council asked John Dobson to draw up plans for the rebuilding.  He immediately produced a street plan and in 1856 his much praised scheme was approved.  The Council struggled to sell the plots amongst claims that they were overvalued.  In 1857, the entire area was sold to developer Ralph Walters at a bargain price. He came from Newcastle,but lived and worked in London.  He asked London architect William Parnell to produce a scheme, which was built between 1858 and 1863.  The final layout followed Dobson’s street plan but without his proposal to link the Quayside and the upper town.

The Victorian building has since been an attractive location for restaurateurs. It was the original home of Terry Laybourne’s Michelin-starred 21 Queen Street as well as the popular modern-British restaurant Pan Haggerty.

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, pickles, pumpernickel; Hake smoked clam frumenty pickled lemon, wake; and Pressed shoulder of pork, parsnips, trivet onions, pickled walnuts, and Bitter ‘manjari’ chocolate with Candied clementine to finish at a price of £21 at lunch and £25 at dinner for three courses.

A refined à la carte menu will also be served in the evening with dishes including Smoked wild duck breast, sea buckthorn, chicory, linseed crisps to start and Turbot cooked on the bone, salsify, oxtail, horseradish for the main course, alongside a soon-to-be-introduced tasting menu with matching wines which will feature dishes such as Line caught mackerel with charred alliums; Ash rolled aged lamb with artichokes cooked in whey, green sauce; and Bread pudding with baked custard, sloe gin berries.

Florin Stan, who has worked at such renowned local venues 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.

“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 Victorian brasserie-inspired interior has been designed by Newcastle-based Dakota House of Design and blends modern elegance with key Victorian features, including traditional pendant track lighting, original brickwork, cast iron columns, high ceilings, banquette seating with glass partitions, rich dark timber flooring, a brass bar top and decorative tiled counter fronts.

Deborah Hodgson, director of Dakota House of Design said “The brief that we received from the Client was to create a smart city centre restaurant with a Victorian stylised interior which had a modern twist on a classical theme. Dakota decided to use classical elements; tin tiles and timber panelling in a more contemporary style with stripped back brickwork and timber floors. Brass finishes were incorporated throughout in the fixtures and fittings to bring warmth to the interior. Victorian inspired paint colour hues of period greens and Heritage blues were used to complete the finished creation. Inspiration classic London-esque stalwart”.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of destination management and marketing agency, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “The space on 21 Queen Street has long had a reputation as being home to some of the most innovative restaurants and foodie enterprises in NewcastleGateshead. I’m thrilled to see that once again this historic site will serve-up a first-class culinary experiences for visitors and residents alike. Dobson and Parnell is a great concept, not only does it help NewcastleGateshead tell its story by celebrating two of our visionary architects, it also adds to our already vibrant restaurant and nightlife economy providing choice and diversity for those visiting, living and working in the destination.”

The restaurant will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 12-2.30 and from 5.30 till 9.30PM from December 2 2017.  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.

Dobson and Parnell, 21 Queen Street, Newcastle, NE1 3UG
0191 2210904