Coming together and breaking bread – sharing a meal – is one of the most communal and binding things we, as humans, can do. Whether celebrating a special occasion with family, or simply catching up with a group of friends, sitting down to eat together is a great way of socialising, bonding and connecting with those who mean the most. Fortunately, there are plenty of tasty places around the region that serve as the perfect backdrop for a foodie get-together. Here are a few of our favourites…
For weddings and engagements >>
Middleton Lodge, North Yorkshire
In search of decadent dining in dreamy surroundings? Then make Middleton Lodge your go-to. The gorgeous Georgian country retreat, nestled in 200 acres of peaceful woodland in North Yorkshire, near Richmond, is something straight out of a fairytale, with enchanting walled gardens, sumptuous accommodation and gourmet-style dining in two uber-romantic restaurants.
Settle at The Forge and treat your tastebuds to its fine dining tasting menu, inspired by whatever’s growing in the nearby kitchen garden (veggie and vegan options available), or head for Coach House for a big, celebratory brunch, or a Mediterranean-style dinner, inspired by Yorkshire countryside. There’s also a private dining room, overlooking a beautiful courtyard, for up to 24 guests. Dinner party anyone?
MENU MUST-HAVES: From The Forge, chocolate and hazelnut with whipped ganache and coffee ice cream. Artichoke, wild mushroom and truffle risotto from Coach House.
For birthday celebrations >>
For a party atmosphere with a luxurious VIP twist, then consider Aveika – an award-winning restaurant and late bar, perfectly positioned in the heart of Newcastle’s buzzy Quayside. While the restaurant serves up Japanese cuisine with a modern twist (the menu has recently been revamped in time for spring/summer 2019), the high-class bar transforms into an exciting after-dark destination for drinking and dancing. Big groups are more than welcome; nab yourself a large table at the back of the restaurant, or head upstairs to the VIP mezzanine level for private dining.
MENU MUST-HAVES: Giant prawns or spicy tuna tacos.
For family gatherings >>
The Northumberland Arms, Morpeth
This charming five-star bar, restaurant and inn can be found in the small and serene village of Felton, just opposite the River Coquet. Cosy, welcoming and deliciously laid-back, it’s perfect for big family meals in search of hearty Sunday roasts and fine dining-style dinners come nightfall. Big groups with something to celebrate won’t find the usual ‘pub grub’ here; dishes are inventive, but not pretentious, marrying sophisticated ingredients and flavours from all over the world. Gather together in the River Room – a light and airy, conservatory-style space – for private do’s.
MENU MUST-HAVES: Scotch quail egg with duck ham and black pudding, followed by monkfish curry.
For catch-ups with pals >>
The Rib Room Steakhouse at Ramside Hall Hotel, County Durham
Fun get togethers with a good amount of chums need to take place in dining spots with personality – and The Rib Room Steakhouse has that in spades. Grab a big round table and revel in the AA award-winning restaurant’s convivial vibes, tucking in to mighty slabs of sensational steak – the finest Durham beef, matured for up to 32 days in the kitchen’s very own meat locker – or sensational lobster and freshly-caught halibut, done three ways. Its handy location, just off the A690 towards Durham, makes it a great meeting point for friends visiting from all over the region.
MENU MUST-HAVES: Spiced Sicilian lobster with mac and cheese, or the 320z tomahawk steak for two.
For anniversaries and life’s milestones >>
The Bay Horse, Hurworth
Marking life’s special moments at a place like The Bay Horse guarantees memories that will last forever. Not only do its impressive menus (stretching from lunch and dinner to Sunday feasts) shine a light on the best local, seasonal produce, cooked with care and flair, its plush facilities are made for celebrating in. Upstairs, you’ll find two intimate private dining rooms – the Seagrave and the Northgate – which large parties of up to 13 and 14 can make their own. Up here, guests are treated to extra level of service, with dedicated waiters and optional extras such as personalised menus and drinks packages, welcome drinks, gourmet canapés and homemade cakes and desserts to make your visit even more special.
MENU MUST-HAVES: Smoked duck, cauliflower panna cotta, curried granola and truffle foam, followed by caramelised rice pudding with honeycomb