First look inside the new Blacks Corner deli in East Boldon which is flying the flag for British produce
An independent restaurant which flies the flag for small-batch British produce has branched out to open a sister deli site.
Two years since they revitalised the corner of St Bedes and Station Road in East Boldon with Blacks Corner, business partners Jonathan Dryden and Chris Lowden are opening a second site in their home village.
Although it’s primarily a restaurant and wine bar, Blacks Corner has always had a deli counter so that people can take home its select charcuterie, British cheeses and farmhouse eggs.
But demand has been so high for that side of the business, that they’re now opening a stand alone deli in nearby St John’s Terrace. After an investment of £50,000 and eight weeks of renovations, it will welcome its first customers from 8am on Saturday, November 2.
Jonathan explained: “The site was purpose built as a bakery but that venture was halted. There’s been a need in the village for bread for a while and it’s something a lot of people ask us for at the original Blacks Corner. We have always had a deli side at the restaurant but it’s become increasingly popular, especially for the hamper side of the business.
“So when the site in St John’s Terrace became available we decided it was the perfect way to answer people’s call for bread, as well as extending our offering.”
The deli site is a continuation of the ethos at the original Blacks Corner, named in honour of villager George Black who built the building in 1918, and has a firm focus on small batch cheeses, artisan breads and British produce.
The range has been extended at the deli to 27 different farmhouse cheeses from makers such as Joan Cross at Barnard Castle and Doddington Dairies in Northumbria, as well as accompanying chutneys and crackers.
They’ve also branched into tray baked sweet goods such as tiffins, almond cake and pecan tarts.
Drinks-wise, you can pick up Tregothnan which is the first English tea grown in England, as well as craft beers from local breweries such as Sunderland-based Vaux and Wylam Brewery in Newcastle.
Jamie Qualie, from Eden Fine Wines, who curates the wine list at Blacks Corner restaurant has chosen the extended range for the deli which features lesser-known English wines, as well as organic choices from around the world, priced from £10 through to £40 for a Champagne.
He said: “People often ask to buy the wines at Blacks Corner but they have to sell them at the restaurant price, the great thing about here is that people can buy them for the retail price. This is the only place in the area where you can get these types of wines. Many are organic. Wines are like food, organic is better than intensely farmed.”
One of the most popular elements of the deli side of the business has proved to be its hampers and gift boxes, and Jonathan says the new site means they can build on this offering, as well as their cheese wedding cakes which have proved a big seller with people tying the knot.
“No way when we started did we think we’d be able to sell hampers under the Blacks Corner brand, like people buy a Fortnum & Mason’s hamper, but it’s really taken off,” he explained.
Gift boxes have been designed by Sunderland artist Kathryn Robertson and are made to order, with orders coming in from around the country.
*Blacks Corner Deli will be open on week days from 8am until 2pm and on Saturdays from 8am to 7pm.