A Teesside-born husband and wife duo are opening their first restaurant – and hope to make fine dining a comfortable option for everyone.
Jake and Laura Siddle, who previously worked for Kenny Atkinson at his Michelin star House of Tides in Newcastle, are all set for the launch of Faru in Durham – which will be serving an ambitious 12-course tasting menu from Friday, April 21. But the emphasis very definitely will be on fine dining without any pretensions.
While the new restaurant in Durham’s Silver Street will be “everything you’d expect in fine dining”, says Laura, the touch of rustic in its modern interior aims to add to an approachable and friendly atmosphere. The couple’s hope is make everyone feel comfortable during a lavish dining experience which will showcase the flavours of seasonal produce that is, wherever possible, local.
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Faru means ‘journey’ in old English and 29-year-old chef Jake thinks the name is an apt one. Jake, originally from Norton, said: “”We thought journey was the word to reflect a lot of things for us – our journey together and our journey through the industry; our personal life.”
“Every guest coming in to the restaurant will be coming on our journey with us.”
The 12 courses on the £98 a head tasting menu will be a journey in themselves and Faru’s Old English name also suits the location of Durham and its sense of history. Jake has worked with Kenny Atkinson since he was 17; initially at Rockliffe Hall in Hurworth before the chef opened House of Tides. It’s there that Jake and front-of-house manager Laura first met and the couple married last July.
Laura, who had herself worked in London before returning home to the North East, thinks she and Jake could even have seen or passed each other years earlier at middlesbrough -college>Middlesbrough College as, being from Norton, she – like Jake – had studied catering and hospitality there at the same time.
The pair just left House of Tides in January, to follow through on their big ambitions for their own restaurant. From the moment they first had the idea, Kenny Atkinson has been “super-supportive” according to Laura.
Laura, 30, added: “He’s always been one to want people to do their own things and push themselves. He’s still just at the end of the phone if we want to speak to him
“He’s constantly in touch – he’s a really good mentor and friend.”
Work on Faru, converted from a former Mountain Warehouse store, started last September but it has been a huge task, as they were starting from scratch. Laura added: “There was no electricity, no water; it was back to the brickwork.”
The transformation into an inviting dining room involved reconfiguring space and taking out staircases and walls.
It was behind one of these that they made the surprise discovery of a beautiful stained glass window. This was revealed during the removal of a wall which had been constructed right in front of it and the striking window is now the backdrop of the open kitchen area.
A couple of the restaurant’s 10 tables are near the kitchen so guests will be able to watch different the cooking techniques under way. Other options include a cosy corner of more tucked-away seating.
Jake and Laura said: “There’s a table for everybody.”
On Tuesday, April 18, there were only three of the tables still available for the April 21 opening day while this coming Saturday is already fully booked-up. Jake and Laura are excited for their chance to showcase what they can do.
They have a full staff of 10 in place and the carefully-created tasting menu – which has a vegetarian alternative – will include the likes of crab tart, using Whitby crab and a mix of both white and brown meat, and duck with celeriac and sorrel.
Whether one of the dishes will go on to become a signature dish, and menu staple, time will tell. It might grow over time says Jake but for now he is just looking forward to his debut service, he added: “this is my first time in my own kitchen”.
He is pleased at the response they have seen on social media as the opening date approaches, saying “we’re just keen to open now.”
After the launch, Faru’s opening days will be from Wednesday to Saturday. There is also to be a lunchtime opening on Saturdays, with an idea to extend this to Fridays in the future.
No doubt old boss Kenny soon will be among their guests. He always will be welcome, they say and Laura adds. “He can come when he wants.”
To make a booking at Faru, visit here.