Dog Leap Cafe
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A cafe in a cathedral, something i’d never really have thought to try, that is until Shannon was invited to try a fairly new cafe in St Nicholas Cathedral right in the heart of Newcastle City Centre.
I’m not a particularly religious person but there is something sedate and relaxing about religious buildings, the feel, the space and I would even say the safety, it’s understandable how people have seen and continue these places as sanctuary, even so today with our fast paced lives, not a lot has changed in the 900 or so years this site has been a site of worship.
A little bit of a history lesson first…
We walked through the Cathedral to the east end of the church where the cafe is located, it’s also the East end backing onto Dean Street where the ‘Dog Leap Stairs’ are located, the cafes’ namesake.
They get their name from the narrow slip of land between two houses (so narrow a dog could possibly leap between the two (I only found that out today!)) It’s also from local folklore said to be the stairs Bessie Surtees and Baron Eldon ascended on horseback, way back when in 1722 as they made their way away from the Quayside.
The stairs are also name checked in opening lines of the 1978 Dire Straits song ‘Down To The Waterline’ some 250-odd years later.
There has been a place of worship on the site since 1091, and the current site was completed as early as 1350 so a place of worship has been here as long as the city itself, it’s also the northernmost cathedral in the England and is the home of the head location of the diocese of Newcastle which reaches as far north as Berwick and as far West as Alston, Cumbria.
After a brief walk through the cathedral itself we followed the signs to the cafe and were greeted and told to take a seat there was ample seating for groups large and small, tall tables, big tables for larger groups as well as some very comfortable looking sofas, they’re all laid out in a spacious and beautifully airy and light side hall of the building.
I had a browse of the menu but to be fair it was a flip of the coin between my ‘go-to’ items a hot beef sandwich or the hot chicken and stuffing, in my eyes two meal options that could do no wrong!
I opted for the ‘Roast Chicken and Stuffing’ sandwich which consisted of Freshly roasted chicken breast, pork and sage stuffing with chicken gravy dip, served in a large bun with root vegetable crisps and a small side salad.
There’s also a specials board that changes – Here’s the latest one at the time of writing, so there’s always something new to try if you become a regular.
I think I made the right choice two huge chunks of fresh chicken and possibly the biggest wedge of stuffing I’ve ever been served before! Dipped in a traditional home made gravy I was incredibly happy with my choice, so much so i’ll be returning for the beef sandwich and potentially breakfast if I am on a late shift or ever ‘spare’ at work and need feeding, There’s something just so relaxing about taking the time out to sit in there as opposed to any other cafe in the City, to be honest, you forget you’re in the city centre until you swing open the doors and you’re immersed in the sirens, traffic and noise of trains rumbling past at the end of the road, less than 12 hours ago on the very same stretch of road thousands of revellers were lining the streets, St John Ambulance had their treatment centre outside and at one point I was running down that street to help out colleagues, in such a short space of time, such a transformation!
Back to the cafe, as I was awaiting my food I did the sneaky peek of everyone others orders and checked out their social media feed for examples of the food, the chef has worked in Michelin star rated establishments, won Yorkshire chef of the year and even worked on Richard Bransons private island! You can tell, the quality of some of the dishes looked superb, whether it was a traditional comfort food such as a sandwich or a dish something a little more extravagant, time, pride and soul goes into the food.
Everything is unique in their the crockery is all made by Dean the head chef as he’s a man of many talents and can turn his hand to the potters wheel, that in itself lends another air of personality to the cafe.
All I can say is I enjoyed it and I will be back to try a few more things, I might even be adventurous and try some of the more exotic dishes such as the Thai Noodle salad or something similar.
Whether you just want a tea and cake, breakfast or something a little more substantial I’d highly recommend Dog Leap Cafe.
Plus… I’ve also heard if you manage to get there on one of their open Sundays for lunch, the Yorkies are talk of the town, after hearing talk of them I took a look on facebook and didn’t have to go far to find evidence!
I was part of a group invited to sample and review the cafe, however any opinions are my own