If you are familiar with Tyne & Wear, you’ll know what a rich and diverse region it is. From its beautiful countryside to its buzzing cities and peaceful seaside towns, the North East offers an abundance of high-quality produce and some fantastic places to eat and drink. We spoke to Hooked-on Group’s Andy Hook to get some insight into the region from a foodie’s point of view.
Hooked on Tyne & Wear
‘In Tyne & Wear, you don’t have to travel far for an exciting culinary experience, and more new restaurants, bars and cafés appear every year, especially here in Newcastle.’
Hooked-on Group own Blackfriars Restaurant & Banquet Hall in the heart of Newcastle and Hinnies in Whitley Bay, which serves Geordie-inspired comfort food, and they will soon be opening their third restaurant on Newcastle’s Quayside. Although they operate primarily in Newcastle, they also work with many artisan producers and suppliers from across Tyne and Wear. Andy is passionate about the wider region and took the time to discuss some of the benefits of visiting the North East.
‘From the fantastic array of country pubs in and around Northumberland to the world-class eateries in Sunderland and Middlesbrough, there’s something for everyone in the region, not to mention the farmers’ markets in Durham, Hexham, Gibside and Morpeth – all beautiful places to visit.’
What inspires you about working in Tyne & Wear?
When asked what inspires him about working in the area, Andy was keen to talk about his fantastic suppliers. Using suppliers who negotiate with local producers is a great way to source the finest ingredients from the region. This is something that Andy places great importance on and is a really great way of keeping the supply chain short and the quality of ingredients consistent. They also grow their own food where possible.
‘I always love seeing the produce we grow on the Blackfriars allotment used in the kitchen, including asparagus, pink fir new potatoes, wild strawberries and new season garlic. While we can’t grow or source everything locally, we certainly strive to make the most of the region’s diverse yield.’
With a burgeoning foodie scene, Newcastle remains one of the most vibrant, architecturally beautiful and easy to get around cities in the UK. As with the rest of this beautiful county, the castles, stunning coastline and Northumberland countryside mean that there is something for everyone, particularly if you’re feeling hungry.
The wealth of dining options that this glorious region boasts, as well as Blackfriars Restaurant and Hinnies are showcased within the pages of our latest issue of the Tyne & Wear guide – you’ll soon see that you’re spoilt for choice. You can request a free copy of the Tyne & Wear Food and Drink Guide 2017 here, or view it online below: