Dobson and Parnell – Newcastle’s smartest new flagship eatery
Period elegance and impeccable style with a contemporary twist are the keynotes in the design of Newcastle’s smartest new flagship eatery, Dobson and Parnell, situated within a Victorian Grade II listed building on Newcastle’s Quayside.
Newcastle restaurateur Andy Hook and Chef Troy Torrington teamed up to create the new 65-cover venue, located at 21 Queen Street and specialising in refined British and European cuisine.
The new interior design was created by Dakota House of Design, with One Concept as the main contractors, who were praised for their work.
The restaurant was named after prominent Newcastle architects John Dobson and William Parnell, who designed the original building in 1863. It is located within a space previously occupied by other prominent eateries and is the new key player in Newcastle Quay’s current fine dining renaissance.
Inspired by the theme of a Victorian brasserie, the design of the new venue, combines refined modern elegance with Victorian elements including original brickwork, high ceilings and cast iron columns.
With the overall concept of a Victorian stylised interior with a contemporary twist on a classical theme, the interior design incorporates timber panelling stripped back exposed brickwork and timber floors. Brass finishes were incorporated throughout in the fixtures and fittings to add warmth to the interior, combined with a black and white colour scheme. Antique style radiators have been installed throughout in keeping with the period theme.
Peter Hodgson, managing director of Dakota House of Design said: “The client was over the moon with the finished project, with the restaurant doing a good level of business even before advertising. The project went well and the contractors did a good job, with the electrical contractors Abbey Electrics performing particularly well.”
The works included the stripping out of the interior, with the installation of new fixtures, fittings and decorative finishes throughout, including a new bar. Wall tiles featuring the Dobson and Parnell logo have been used, together with sections of exposed brickwork and timber wall panelling. Anaglypta wallpaper and antique style pressed tin tiles have been used on the ceiling.
A new timber bar and back bar was installed, with the bar featuring a Victorian style decorative tiled frontage and an inlaid brass counter with overhead lighting. Off white tiling has been used on the back bar, where shelving displays illuminated by concealed lighting showcase a variety of wines.
A combination of fixed and moveable seating has been installed in this area, with leather upholstered seating booths in the windows. The booths are separated by glazed screens, with clear glass at low level and frosted glass above.
Emily Brennan, designer for Dakota said: “Lighting was key to the scheme, and was designed to be warm and inviting, which was essential to tone down the extensive use of white in the interior. Varied lighting levels are used in different areas, and feature ball lights are suspended from the high ceilings.”
The existing wooden flooring was stripped and re-varnished in dark coloured timber to echo the Victorian theme and further enhance the warm look.
Two illuminated wine displays – one in the lobby and another in the restaurant – were also installed.
The restaurant incorporates a mixture of fixed and moveable seating, with the walls in a combination of exposed brickwork and tiling, with the same black and white colour scheme carried through from the bar area.
Further works included the upgrade of the kitchen and the installation of new equipment.
The kitchen specialises in preserving techniques such as curing, smoking, salting, brining and fermenting, using ethically-sourced local, seasonal produce direct from nearby farms and markets.
The Set Menu might feature dishes such as pressed wild rabbit with pickles and pumpernickel; Hake smoked clam with pickled lemon, and pressed shoulder of pork, with parsnips, trivet onions and pickled walnuts.
The A’ La Carte menu might include: toasted pearl spelt risotto, with celeriac, hard cheese and hazelnuts; kohlrabi cannelloni with foraged mushrooms, fresh jersey curd and herb oil; Waterford House farm lamb with north country winter squash, and black garlic and farmed halibut on the bone with salsify, oxtail and horseradish.
The selection of desserts could comprise: bread pudding with baked custard and sloe gin berries; almond shortcake with fig, red wine and plum; malted loaf with soured jersey cream and reduced whey caramel, and bitter manjari chocolate with pistachio frangipane, and candied clementine.
Established in 1990, Crosbys specialise in the design, supply and installation of commercial kitchens and bars. The company supply everything from ladles to teaspoons, crockery, cutlery and glass as well as furniture cleaning chemicals and janitorial solutions. The business offers fast and efficient delivery as well as manufacturing expertise, a huge local showroom and stock available same day.
Local to the north, Crosbys supply chain and independent restaurants, schools, hospitals and nursing homes, their forte being with the independent restaurateur. Having supplied Andy since his first venue in Sidneys restaurant, the chance to design and build a kitchen for the new venue was very exciting.
Projects and Design Team Manager, John Clarke, commented:
“The extraction for the Kitchen, presented a major challenge with many hurdles to climb but our team overcame the issues and found a workable solution. Despite a tight basement kitchen we made best use of the space available and listened to the kitchen team. After that our vast range of products and skill set within the team led us to supply all the front of house equipment including bar, crockery, cutlery, glassware and cleaning equipment.”
Roger Crosby business Development Director commented:
“Having supplied the venue a number of times including in its original incarnation as Café 21 we knew Andy had big shoes to fill, however, given the track record of Sidneys, Blackfriars and more recently Hinnies, we were confident he and Troy would provide a quality offering which we would need to interpret correctly, and provide the right tableware to compliment the fabulous interior letting the food shine.
“As a company we pride ourselves on service and building long lasting relationships with our customers, we wish Andy, Troy and the team all the very best.”
Dakota House of Design
Dakota House of Design is a leading design practice, providing architecture and interior design services to the leisure industry. The practice has been in operation for nine years, however, the team behind Dakota have been designing restaurants, hotels and casinos etc for a total of 32 years.
Over the years, Dakota House of Design has built up a strong portfolio of projects, including many prestigious names. Clients include Mitchells & Butlers; Malmaison; Best Western; Hilton; Jury’s Inn; Marco Pierre White; Giraffe; Yo! Sushi; and Pizza Express, amongst others.
Most recently the team have been involved with Andy Hook on Dobson and Parnell. Working on this project they were not only responsible for the venue’s interior design but also the architecture and project management.
Peter Hodgson, Managing Director of Dakota House of Design, said:
“Andy Hook is a local operator who Dakota know very well and as most of our work is conducted in and around London, it was nice to be involved with something in our own backyard.”
“At Dakota we are a very innovative company that achieves value for budget and ensures that clients get exactly “what it says on the tin”. Our design intent demonstrated in our illustrations is always reflected in the finished project; so much so that our clients have been known to hold up our illustrations against the finished interior and comment how close they are to each other.”