The Black Friar re-opens as a public house and restaurant this week after a compete refurbishment. The original pub building was converted from an old schoolhouse in 1886 and firmly stood its ground when Trinity Way was built alongside it in 1989. It was a popular Boddington’s pub for years but was gutted by a fire in 2006 and has been closed ever since.
Now, after 18 years, the grade two-listed building is open to the public once again after a total transformation of the interior, part of Salboy’s Local Blackfriars development, costing almost £1.5M. They’ve kept as many original features as possible including carved woodwork and stone panels giving it a cosy yet contemporary feel.
Head chef Ben Chaplin, previously of 20 Stories, is taking the lead in the open kitchen, creating dishes using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Front of house is in the very capable hands of Neil Burke, former regional manager of the Jamie Oliver group, who has taken on the role of General Manager.
“We want it to have that impact again, becoming everyone’s local but also a real destination,” says Neil on his plans for Black Friar, “where you’re guaranteed really good food, a welcoming atmosphere and a place where you feel just at home nipping in for a pint as you do sitting down for a fantastic three course dinner."
The front rooms (plus another room upstairs) have been set up to be more of a traditional pub area serving modern interpretations of classic pub favourites including a Cornish Crab Scotch egg (£9) and The Black Friar cheese burger and fries (£16). The pub will offer a breakfast menu, freshly squeezed juices and ‘morning tipples’ every Saturday and Sunday from 9 til 11.30am. A Sunday roast will be available every Sunday from 12pm.
You’ll find a 70-cover modern glass restaurant at the rear, which offers a more refined menu. Starters include Yellisons goats curd flan with grilled baby courgette, beignets and lemon curd (£9) and Cornish Crab boudin with basil jelly and smoked dehydrated watermelon (£12.)
You can get a steak at Black Friar, but ‘Lake District Himalayan salt aged 10oz ribeye with roast shallots and peppercorn sauce’ at £32 is possibly a little more high-falutin than your average pub menu. We tried a couple of fresh fish dishes on our pre-launch visit. Seared monkfish and langoustine bouillabaisse with black squid ink rouille and nasturtium (£30) and line caught halibut with lobster ravioli, wilted spinach + lobster bisque (£32.)
The restaurant leads onto a pleasantly planted courtyard and outdoor beer garden which, apart from the background hum of the traffic, will make you feel like you’re miles away from a busy junction in Salford. You can even hire out part of the outside area called ‘Boddington’s Corner’ for up to 30 guests.
More function spaces are available on the second floor which can be exclusively booked for private events – at full capacity, the Black friar can accommodate 220 revellers. The Sanctuary can accommodate between 12-30 guests on the middle floor in a room with panelled walls, vintage furniture and comfy sofas.
As it’s a pub, walk-ins are welcome at The Black Friar for a drink or two - although booking is advised if you want to eat in the restaurant. The venue is mostly dog-friendly – although all dogs need to be on a lead and are only allowed in the pub or garden areas.THE BLACK FRIAR, 41-43 BLACKFRIARS RD, SALFORD, M3 7DB