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Blackdoor Brassiere @ The Biscuit Factory!!!
Black Door Brasserie (Newcastle)
Member Name: Lools_24
Black Door Brasserie (Newcastle)
Date: 19/02/09, updated on 02/10/12 (360 review reads)
Advantages: Quirky menu, uses local produce
Disadvantages: Lack of parking, fine dining prices
I visited the Brassiere Black Door at the Biscuit Factory yesterday for lunch. I have to confess I didn't pay as this was a business lunch, a thank you meal to the team I work for that one of the executive board members paid for (he also joined us hence being on the best behaviour). So maybe if this meal had been paid for by my own money I would have been a lot more critical.
The restaurant is located on Stoddard Street in Shieldfield Newcastle. It's within the Biscuit Factory art gallery. The surrounding area is quite rundown generally and not somewhere that you would expect one of Newcastle's "fine dining experiences" but don't let that put you off.
There is some parking at the front of the building and on the main road. However as this was a weekday lunch time it was difficult to get parked and I had to park a considerable way along the main road and walk, which as you can imagine in a pair of 5 inch heels didn't put me in the best of moods!
As mentioned the Brassiere Black Door @ The Biscuit Factory is located in The Biscuit Factory Art Gallery. It is open Monday to Saturday 12pm-2pm and 7-10pm.
I would recommend making a reservation just to ensure that there is a table available.
The décor of the restaurant is modern, lots of dark wood tables, the bar is extremely polished and made from expensive looking dark wood, leather sofas and leather dining chairs.
What really sets this restaurant apart with being located in the art gallery is the art which is displayed around the restaurant. The art displayed is by a variety of artists all of which can be purchased therefore the art in the restaurant is rotated. The price tags are displayed and most of the art that I liked started at £2000 per piece. So don't expect bargain price tags.
The restaurant is smaller than I expected and quite intimate. It wasn't that busy when I dined here (about 9 tables of customers) but I imagine if it was busier it could feel quite crowded.
The tables are decorated quite simply with plain cutlery , white linen and a simple small vase on the table. But everything in the restaurant was clean and cutlery and glasses were smear free which I would expect from a restaurant of this standard.
The official line from the website on the menu is "Brasserie Black Door is focused firmly on a philosophy of using the freshest local produce available, creating dishes that are as fresh as they are tasty and imaginative. Executive chef David Kennedy uses all the experience of working at Black Door to create a menu capable of living up to the company's very high standards."
The menu changes regularly because of the use of local sourced products and availability. The starters menu yesterday to feature a lot of fish dishes, (fishcakes, squid and mackerel). There were about 4 different dishes for vegetarians out of the 10 starters.
Interestingly enough there was a Duck Scotch Egg. One of the party ordered this but did not end up getting this as we were told by the kitchen that "the scotch egg exploded and this was the last one" so we were not sure if this was a scotch egg made from a ducks egg, or an normal egg wrapped in duck meat! What we did kind of figure out that the duck scotch egg was all over the kitchen ceiling which gave us all a bit of a giggle!
From the al l carte menu some of the main dishes that had this "twist" was rabbit lasagne, cottage pie with a cauliflower gratin and pork scratchings.
The dessert menu had about 8 dishes all of which varied including chocolate truffle cake, baked cheese cake and chocolate mousse with figs in a red wine sauce.
The (express) lunch menu contains three choices per course at a very reasonable price. When I visited this was:
Wild Mushroom soup
Salt and Pepper Aquid with Dave's Ketchup
Risotto of wild mushrooms
Mackerel with quails egg and spinach
Beef burger, hand cut vegetables with pickles and aubergine
warm pear cake, salt-butter caramel
chocolate mousse, vanilla shortbread
I ordered off the set lunch menu, mainly because I just could not choose from the a la carte menu as there was so much choice. I had the mushroom soup and the burger. The mushroom soup was lovely, but nothing special which I was hoping for. It was very creamy and very rich and because it was such a large portion I just couldn't finish it.
The burger was gorgeous. Served on a wooden slab with the "handcut vegetables served in paper" presentation was fantastic but the burger did appear small on first glance. However the portion size was just right for lunch. The burger bun was a bit doughy which I left most of as it was so filling. The beef was cooked perfectly and on reflection it was a good job it was quite small (but thick) as otherwise I would have left lots.
For dessert I ordered off the a la carte menu and got the iced chocolate mousse with figs in a red wine sauce. Wow it was gorgeous but not a light dessert like I was expecting. It was very creamy and the iced mouse was a bit like thick ice cream. The mousse was presented like a square loaf cake shape on a piece of slate with three figs soaked in red wine with a drizzle of sauce over the plate. Very arty but actually very tasty.
There is a full wine list around 15 red wines , 15 white, 4 rose , and around 5 different champagnes which is rather decent. The restaurant also serves a wide variety of spirits and beers both bottled and on draught.
The prices in the restaurant are generally at quite a high price especially for general Newcastle standards. The a la carte menu ranged from £4.50 per starter to £9 (for mussels). The main meals started at £10 for a polenta dish and £18.95 for steak. I think this is reasonable especially as the meat is very good quality. The desserts do seem to be more expensive that other a chocolate truffle cake and orange sorbet was £7.50 and the dish was an extremely small portion.
However the lunch menu is fantastic value for money by any standards. Two courses for £10 or 3 courses for £12.45. This menu is limited to three dishes per course but there is still plenty of choice and allows you to sample the place and have three courses at the cost of one (cheaper meal from the a la carte menu!) I would definitely recommend this if I was paying out of my own bank account.
Although I didn't see the final bill, when back in the office we worked out that for 9 people including two rounds of drinks (both alcoholic and non alcoholic) that the bill would have been around the £450 mark. Not the most expensive fine dining place I have been in but again its not cheap!
There is also a 10% gratuity charge on top of the bill on all size parties.
Drinks wise a medium glass of house wine costs £3.50 a large glass £5.00 and a bottle £14.00 which I pretty reasonable for any restaurants. Bottles of wine go up to £36 per bottle. Drinks by restaurant standards are not at all excessive which can be found in some fine dining restaurants.
The service was very average and moderately efficient; however the staff were quite inexperienced and did not know the menu or the food served very well. In a lot of cases when asking about certain dishes on the menu they did not know or could not answer questions. I have worked in a food service role and this really essential as a waitress especially in a restaurant which prides itself on a fine dining experience.
The staff are attentive though and do make sure you have enough drinks, and take the dirty plates away promptly.
Only problem this was a lunch , and it took 2 hours, 15 minutes for the whole three courses (not including pre drinks before the meal).... So not somewhere to go if you are in a massive hurry. For a business lunch I would have usually panicked about being out of the office so long however having an exec director with me meant I had a good enough excuse.
It's a restaurant that I would visit again definitely, the menu is packed with lots of local produce and the dishes are traditional with a twist (i.e. rabbit lasagne!!) . For fussy eaters who do not like to try new things this is not the place for you as the menu may appear slightly off putting as there are no "safe classics". The prices are slightly higher than most restaurants in Newcastle but the dining experience was very pleasant, despite service just being average. Worth a try but maybe not during a peak time!
~~~Also posted on ciao 2011~~~
Summary: A nice restaurant producing quality food from local ingredients.