It’s within the Lifestyle Academy building in Newcastle College and way up on the third floor, which means it has great views of the city.
The Chef’s Academy food is served up by the college’s student chefs and the venue often does collaborations with various top regional restaurants. This time around, Blackfriars chefs came in and helped to support the students in serving up a meal they could all be proud of. The menu looked fantastic and with seven courses for only £20, it was a complete bargain.
We started with home-made bread, followed by an amuse bouche – spring pea pannacotta which was deliciously refreshing and sweet. All the dishes were incredibly well presented too.
The spelt risotto of roasted shallot and artichoke, Ribblesdale ‘Parmesan’, truffle was gorgeous.
This was followed by beetroot-cured salmon, cucumber, cream cheese and mousse. Now I have the salmon usually when I visit Blackfriars and it never disappoints. The presentation was immaculate and I was delighted by various little elements on the plate such as the cucumber jelly. I could have eaten this dish twice over.
The main course was seared Northumbrian lamb loin, crispy belly, carrot, Lowna Dairy Crowdie, basil puree. By this stage, I couldn’t believe that these were student chefs. It was all Blackfriars quality and perfectly done.
With each course, it all seemed to get better and better and the dessert was really just outstanding. Apparently they serve this three-tiered brownie at Blackfriars, but I’ve never have it as I’m addicted to their sticky toffee pudding. However, after tasting this for the first time, it’s going to be my dessert of choice the next time I visit. If you’ve not had it before, it’s worth a visit – just to taste this. I say this and usually I’m not even a brownie person.
Overall, I was so impressed as I’m sure you can tell by this rather glowing review. I have to say though, I’m not sure what it’s like each time as the students do work different nights and the college restaurant works with different eateries so there’s not really any stability in that way. That can be a bit of a shame as I would just love to have exactly this same meal again. However, it does mean that everything is constantly evolving and that coming here can be just that bit more fun than going to an average restaurant in town. To be honest, I don’t know what to expect the next time I come, BUT I can’t wait to find out!
For me, there’s several benefits to coming here. One, the views from the restaurant. Two, the service – the young staff here are also in training (and our young waitress was so lovely and sweet!). Three, the future talent – it’s nice to support young chefs before they hit the big time and for them, I guess it’s always nice to have a packed restaurant full of appreciative diners. Four, the price range – honestly, all their meals are a complete bargain here. For example, a two course lunch is only £6.50.
If you want to find out more and book yourself in, visit the Chef’s Academy website to view the menu and the visiting chefs – www.ncl-coll.ac.uk/lifestyle/chefs-academy