Halloween pop-up restaurant to take off at North East attraction

From left: chefs Simon Whitehead, Hugo Embleton-Black, museum secretary Ian McLaren,  The Experimental Diner's Lauren McKirdy, chefs Gareth Clarke and Jack Kirby
From left: chefs Simon Whitehead, Hugo Embleton-Black, museum secretary Ian McLaren, The Experimental Diner's Lauren McKirdy, chefs Gareth Clarke and Jack Kirby
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Top chefs are set to earn their wings when they transform a city aircraft hanger into a pop-up restaurant.

Hugo Embleton-Black and Simon Whitehead, sous chefs from the celebrated Peace & Loaf restaurant in Jesmond, Newcastle, and Gareth Clarke, head chef at Hinnies, in Whitley Bay, will be touching down at The North East Land, Sea and Air Museum for a series of fine dining sittings on October 29 and 30.

Chefs Simon Whitehead, Hugo Embleton-Black, Gareth Clarke and Jack Kirby

Chefs Simon Whitehead, Hugo Embleton-Black, Gareth Clarke and Jack Kirby

The unusual dining concept has been timed to coincide with Halloween, with the former RAF Usworth site having long been a popular venue with paranormal groups.

Chefs say the setting should make for an atmospheric dining experience for guests who will be taken on a ghoulish guided tour of the exhibits ahead of their meals.

Gareth Clarke, head chef at Hinnies, will be preparing meals for the Monday night of the event, alongside chef de partie Jack Kirby.

Like the previous night’s menu, their dishes have been inspired by the home-grown produce that would have been available during the Second World War, an era which is represented at the museum through a number of artefacts and aircraft.

Gareth said: “The food we do at Hinnies is British dishes, using local produce, so the menu will be similar to that.

“I’ll be using a lot of the produce from my own allotment. It’s no good using things like pineapple, because that wouldn’t have been around at the time, so we’ll be using ingredients such as Bramley apples and quail’s egg.”

Simon, from Peace & Loaf, said: “This is a great chance for us to experiment with dishes we wouldn’t be able to serve in Peace & Loaf.

“It’s no good us serving food from the restaurant in a setting like this, we wanted to do something that’s authentic to the era.”

The event is the brainchild of The Experimental Diner, a company which hosts pop-up kitchens in unusual locations across the region.

Speaking about the location’s appeal, Lauren McKirdy, hospitality director at Experimental Diner, said: “How often do you get to eat surrounded by aircraft like this? We hadn’t even realised the museum was here until we started looking around for locations, but it has a great atmosphere.”

Ian Mclaren, secretary at the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum, said: “The museum is very different at night to during the day.

“The main hanger where the restaurant will be staged is where we have the most of our ghost activity. You often hear a 1940s phone ringing and people working on the planes feel a hand on their shoulder, even though there’s no one there.”

•Tickets are available now from http://theexperimentaldiner.co.uk/.