Blackfriars and Gadds Town House
Posted: 01 Feb 2012
Ever on a Sunday
The Sunday Sun newspaper’s Eddy Eats has forged a career out of writing about taking Sunday lunch around the region. Nice work if you can get it.
Sadly, ne4me doesn’t have the resources to fund a weekly Sunday lunch column – but we do take the occasional outing for said fare.
Two places that are now filed in the ‘tried, tested and trusted’ file are Blackfriars in Newcastle city centre and Gadds Town House (pictured above, previously The Fallen Angel) in Durham. Both were chosen for the convenient hours they operate for Sunday lunch – up to late afternoon – meaning the whole day is not lost in a fog of over-indulgence. But convenience is just part of it: both places have been consistently good when we’ve visited in the last few weeks, so much so that they bear a mention for their Sunday lunch offer alone (although both do much else besides).
Excellent service is a common feature, as are interesting surroundings. Blackfriars – which was a friary dating back to 1239 – houses the oldest restaurant in the UK and you can feel the history amid hulking stone walls and flagstones within sight of the old city walls.
Gadds Town House, on the other hand, is a plush flight of fancy (albeit in a traditional Georgian building) which has recently been refurbished. The dining room is full of tassels, swags and furbelows atop an animal-print carpet. (The bedrooms, incidentally, extend the wacky theme upstairs, bringing a welcome dollop of eccentricity to Durham’s hotel scene – but that’s not what we’re here for as a restaurant review column).
Anyway, good, hearty, traditional roasts complete with Yorkshire puddings, gravy and traditional sauces (horseradish, mint sauce, apple sauce etc) are the order of the day at these two favourite spots. We’ve tried and tested lamb, beef and pork and all are uniformly plentiful, tasty and fine quality. Vegetables come with and are fresh and simple.
Really there’s not much more you want if you’re after a traditional Sunday lunch and we’ve not always managed puddings, although the well-sourced cheeses at Blackfriars are excellent and the wine list is award-winning and superb: if you’ve got the head for it, I recommend one of the super-heavyweight reds. At Gadds Town House try the crème brulee which is top-notch.
Gadds Town House
34 Old Elvet
Durham DH1 3HN
0191 384 1037
Sunday lunch: £12.50
Blackfriars Restaurant & Banquet Hall
Newcastle NE1 4XN
0191 261 5945
Sunday lunch £11 (or £13 if taken as set menu)