Shoppers in Morpeth can enjoy lunch or an afternoon tea in elegant surroundings at an outlet in Sanderson Arcade.
Gareth James Chocolatier opened a ground floor shop in the gallery area three months ago and now the cafe lounge upstairs has been launched.
A light touch refurbishment has been carried out to the first floor premises, which used to be an Edwardian-style tea room. A restaurant-style service is provided at the venue, which was officially opened by Morpeth Mayor Nic Best.
The lunch options on the menu include a salad of chicory, roast fig, toasted cashews and French dressing and a ploughman’s lunch of Scotch egg, Northumberland cheeses, balsamic pickled onions and homemade breads and there are some specials such as a meal of grilled market fish, crushed Jersey royals, samphire and Grenoble sauce.
At 18, a chance meeting with acclaimed chocolatier Paul A Young landed Gareth James Mellor a trial day in his Camden Passage kitchen and the Morpeth Hockey Club player ended up spending 12 months in London. He then worked for a spell in the pastry section at Jesmond Dene House before deciding to start up his own business. His first chocolate shop and cafe is located in Tynemouth.
The 24-year-old said: “The Morpeth shop has been very well received in the town and we’re really excited to have the whole business open after so many weeks of planning.
“Our cafe lounge is like a dining area at a luxury hotel – not the restaurant, but the place where people go for a bite to eat at lunchtime and during the afternoon.”
The shop is open Monday to Saturday and the cafe lounge is available Tuesday to Saturday (10am to 5pm).