Dobson & Parnell is one of Newcastle’s newest fine dining experiences, and is currently part of the bi-annual NE1 Newcastle Restaurant week. The Dobson & Parnell building itself was designed by famous local architect John Dobson. You might recognise the name, he designed some of the iconic areas of Newcastle such as Eldon Square, the Grainger market and Central Station. John Dobson street is also a great place to get caught by VERY poorly signed bus lane cameras! William Parnell makes up the other half of the restaurants name, another architect with buildings such as the Tyne Theatre in his portfolio. Together they make Dobson & Parnell, located on Queen Street, which is very appropriate given that it’s so close to another of the cities architectural masterpieces – the Tyne Bridge.
There’s a brief history for you, now onto the food. When it comes to restaurant week I always like to try somewhere I’ve not been before. The excellent offers are a good way to sample new restaurants, especially the more expensive ones when it doesn’t matter as much if you don’t like them.
I had heard that given its calibre (owned by the same guy as award winning Blackfriars, and head chef previously of Blackfriars and Jesmond Dene House), that it isn’t the cheapest. Perfect for trying out on restaurant week I was really glad to see it on the list of participating eateries. With a delicious sounding menu and plenty of choice it didn’t take long to persuade the girls to come with me.
We scoured the menu for a week before our visit, all of us struggling to decide what to get for the amount of choices on offer. I went for the full-cured salmon starter, served with creme fraiche and watercress. It was lovely fresh salmon, and thick creme fraiche, but I think we all agreed it was slightly on the small side.
One of the other girls had the roasted red pepper soup with tomatoes, which she said was lovely but again it was slightly smaller than your usual starter soup.
We had bread baskets between us, and I know this is hardly groundbreaking but I’m mentioning it because it was fresh, not stale and we ordered more of it.
For main two of us had the mussels in white wine, cream and parsley, and we shared a side of greens and a side of chips. The mussels and sauce were honestly the best I’ve ever had. They were all open, all big and juicy, and the sauce wasn’t too claggy but was full of flavour. Everyone enjoyed dipping some of the extra bread and chips in!
I have to mention the chips, because they were bloody unreal. Aren’t they always? These were the Kings of chips though. The most elite chips I’ve tasted. We were completely guessing but we think they were made in goose fat, with some sort of seasoning and lightly salted. For £4 for a small bowl of them you would expect them to deliver and they really did. Yum!
Mains were a much better sized portions than the starters, but we all had room for desert. The restaurant week offer is two courses for £15 or three for £20. I had the lemon tart with raspberry and mint. It was different in that it was the lemon topping on the bottom, with lightly crumbled biscuit over the top, and raspberry sauce as decoration. It was lovely, even if it wasn’t what I expected and by the time we had all finished three courses we were all nicely full.
Drinks menu was as you’d expect, lots of couples in were sharing bottles of wine but we went for the cocktails. There were a good selection of cocktails and mocktails, including seasonal favourites. I went for one of those – the rosemary julep which was gin based. At £8 ish for most cocktails I expected it to be slightly bigger but it was strong which made up for it.
Service throughout the whole evening was very good, quite relaxed but we weren’t sitting about too long and they didn’t rush us through. Dobson & Parnell is definitely a high end, quality restaurant, without being too posh and would be perfect for an occasion.
Our bill for a three course, restaurant week menu with multiple drinks and a few extra sides and bread basket came to approx £26 each.
When I booked the table they told me that their offer is going to run for two weeks, so if you fancy giving it a go you can still take advantage this coming week.
I would absolutely return to Dobson & Parnell, their taster menu looks really nice, and I’ve heard good things about their lunchtime offer which sounds very good value for money.
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