With plans to modernise the north-eastern town of Darlington focusing specifically on restaurant and retail offerings, the town will receive a muchneeded shot in the arm when new restaurant The Gastro opens at the beginning of September.
Owned by Judith Waters, the two-level restaurant will be housed in a building that was formerly used for storage and has now been converted into a 50-cover restaurant with leather seating, an open kitchen and a roof terrace for barbecues.
Head Chef will be 34-year-old Scotsman Craig McMeeken from Cumbria’s The Punch Bowl Inn, who has previous experience at Newcastle’s Matfen Hall, Terry Laybourne’s Bistro 21 in Durham and the Malmaison Hotel in Glasgow.
His menu will offer a contemporary mix of French and English, sourcing local ingredients wherever possible in dishes such as Pan-seared Halibut with Braised Oxtail and Gressingham Duck Breast with Creamed Savoy Cabbage and Thyme Jus.
“Having worked in the Lake District for the past year, this was the perfect opportunity for me to get back to the North East,” said McMeeken.
“Accolades are a big thing for me, from AA Rosettes to Michelin recognition, and I want all of them for The Gastro.