Blackfriars at the Chef’s Academy, Newcastle College Review

What a delight! I was invited to the Chef’s Academy to experience a meal in association with Blackfriars. For me, the Chef’s Academy is a hidden little restaurant gem in Newcastle City Centre.

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.

blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle

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.

blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle

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.

blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle

The spelt risotto of roasted shallot and artichoke, Ribblesdale ‘Parmesan’, truffle was gorgeous.

blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle

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.
blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle

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.

blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle review

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.

blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle reviewOverall, 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 –


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The New Satchel – Cut Make Trim’s Got it in the Bag

I’m a lover of the well made satchel bags and recently I’ve been covering lots of fantastic British companies. It’s great to see  beautiful products from our fine little island and Cut Make Trim – a new organisation specialising in quality handcrafted bags are no exception.

cut make trim logo leather bags

Nowadays we have so much choice, whether it’s picking a coffee in the morning through to the sheer amount of handbag options online. What I love about Cut Make Trim, is they’ve really specialised and they only present five choices of bags (albeit plenty of colour options) that they can deliver an incredibly high finish on.

Satchel bags to me however, as lovely as they are, don’t quite cut it in regards to a professional look so I was delighted to discover Cut Make Trim’s Barrel Bags – they’re perfect for work!

cut make trim satchel barrel bag

Though this style of handbag is ideal to take to the office, I wanted to go for a bright colourful option and those who know me, know that I love the colour yellow and I fell instantly in love with this, soon as I saw it online.

cut make trim satchel barrel bag

The bags themselves are handcrafted in London and made by dedicated craftsmen who have years of experience. I really appreciated getting a notification from them that my bag was being made – it makes you feel like you’re getting something with a lot of love and that your bag is unique to you.

When it arrived, all carefully wrapped up, I was delighted. Here’s a few snaps, where you can see the gorgeous leather and workmanship that’s gone into creating it.

cut make trim satchel barrel bag

cut make trim satchel barrel bag

It comes with a detachable strap and the buckles are traditional – no magnets etc. The bag opens up to one large compartment – see a sneak peek of the inside here:

cut make trim satchel barrel bag

If you like my barrel bag, you can buy it here.

Overall, the bag is the perfect alternative style to the satchel bag. Not everyone has one too, so make sure you snap up yours and help support British.

I have to say though, although there’s only a few choices, it took me forever to decide on which colour as I was very tempted by the baby pink – very on trend for this season’s pastels!

Visit the website and pick up your bag here:
PS – check out their very cute saddle bags too!

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