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Faru Review – A Revolutionary Dining Experience in Durham

A common question I receive and one that I sometimes struggle to answer is, what’s the best place to eat in Durham for a special occasion?

The reason is that there aren’t an awful lot of options. Sure, the city has some excellent restaurants, but if you’re looking for that wow factor, I’d almost always recommend heading across the water to the Toon.

That was until Faru came along.

The site is located on Silver Street and was formed through the hard work of Jake and Laura Siddle, a husband-and-wife team. They opened in April 2023 but have already propelled themselves to not just one of the best places to eat in Durham, but the North East.

The pair, with their impressive Michelin backgrounds, honed their skills under Kenny Atkinson’s guidance at the highly-rated House of Tides.

Faru is their first venture into solo-running a restaurant, let alone a business. But a year later, this finely polished eatery is knocking loudly at the door of the Michelin critics.

The Setting

Faru Review Durham
📷 @restauntfaru Instagram

As soon as you enter Faru, you’re greeted by a calm, relaxed atmosphere. The décor, with its muted tones and clean lines, creates a space where you’re more than happy to spend the best part of three hours getting to know.

It seats no more than 30 people, but at no point does it feel cramped. We were seated near the back, which was fine, but knowing what we do now, I’d recommend getting a table near the front, where you’re right next to the kitchen.

It almost feels like a chef’s table but without the price tag.

The stained glass at the back of the kitchen creates an amazing backdrop. It’s made for the ‘gram, but my pictures don’t do it justice, so check out their page @restaurantfaru

You never feel out of place, and even though the price tag is relatively high for the city, I dare bet you’d get the same warm welcome if you were dressed to the nines or in a comfy pair of jeans and polo. Imperative for success in Durham.

Our reservation just so happened to fall on Faru’s 12-month anniversary. We were greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne and a peruse of the drinks menu.

Great start!

We opted for the full tasting menu priced at £98, however, we decided not to go for the wine flight (priced at £65) and just picked a couple of bottles based on the recommendations of Laura and Mathew.

If you feel the price is a little steep, they do a five-course menu for £60, with a £55 wine flight.

Let’s begin our Faru review.

Course #1: Beignet, Cheese, Onion

Course #1: Beignet, Cheese, Onion

My (limited) interpretation of beignets was a sweet, deep-fried dough. But, of course, that’s not what we got.

Instead, we had a savoury version, perfectly deep-fried, golden brown with an amazing chutney-like jam on the side. This came with a stunningly light and simple parmesan basket with perfectly balanced flavours, and an indescribable aroma that was to die for.

What a start to this Faru review.

Course #2: Crab, Bergamot, Lovage & Lamb, Black Garlic, Verjus

Course #2: Crab, Bergamot, Lovage & Lamb, Black Garlic, Verjus

This was the first of the doubled headers. The crab was wrapped in a wafer-thin shell with hints of bergamot (lemon) and lovage (parsley) on top in a gel form.

It was almost like a palette cleanser in a strange way, such was the freshness.

The lamb had that strike of black garlic through it. It was perfectly cooked and melted in the mouth.

Again, the citrus hit from the verjus balanced beautifully. It was one of those dishes where they could have served a tray of these, and you’d leave extremely satisfied.

Course #3: Lobster, Carrot, Yuzu

Course #3: Lobster, Carrot, Yuzu

The star of the show and the most Instagram-able plate was the lobster. The sheer artistry to come up with a concept like this, let alone pull it off, is very special.

I mean, just look at it!

It tasted as good as it looked, this time with the citrus theme continuing in the form of yuzu. It was a plate with it all, from the fresh meatiness of the lobster to the carrot and (I think) beetroot, with that subtle yet noticeable hit from the Yuzu.

Course #4: Milk Bread, Bacon Jam, Butter & Hen of the Woods, Dashi, Pak Choi

The second of the double headers arrived, and what a strange mix. First, the milk bread landed, and we were informed to tuck in but save some for the dish to follow.

What surprised me most about the bread was that it was quite sweet from the bacon jam. Its texture was not dissimilar to that of a cinnamon roll. And, of course, perfectly salted homemade butter.

Hen of the Woods turned out to be a wild mushroom (new to me!), often found growing at the base of old oak and maple trees.

Dashi is one of those broths that I find can be quite overpowering in terms of seasoning. But, of course, the balance was superb. It was a little like miso soup, to be honest, with a nice change up in texture with the crumb on top.

It was probably the strangest combination of the meal, but we all agreed it was still super tasty, if a little intriguing.

That’s what it’s all about, right?

Course #5: Cod, Whey, Asparagus

Course #5: Cod, Whey, Asparagus

At this point in the meal, we’re starting to think that something special is happening here. Are we about to get our first Michelin-starred spot right on our doorstep?

Then the cod arrived. And continued to reinforce what I hoped as soon as I set afoot.

If they didn’t tell you, to look at it, you’d be forgiven to think this was a scallop. It had that golden char on the top and firm-to-touch texture, which melted once you broke into it with your fork.

The white asparagus was, again, perfectly cooked along with the whey dip.

But as good as these were, the thing that elevated this dish was the miniature broccoli, which you can just about see propped up next to the asparagus. They were sweet! Mind. Blown.

It’s such a creative dish, and I think in terms of layers of flavour, this was the winner from the Faru review.

Course #6: Duck, Beetroot, Chicory

Course #6: Duck, Beetroot, Chicory

Duck is always a crowd-pleaser, and this did not disappoint. It was perfectly pink, with a rich jus artistically slathered over the top.

Beetroot is not usually my thing, but this was not like your standard beetroot. I mean, of course, it wasn’t.

It was hearty yet delicate. It sounds strange to read back as I write that, but that’s how it went.

This was the final round of the savoury dishes as part of my Faru review, and now, we move on to the deserts.

Course #7: Rhubarb, Tonka, Lychee

Course #7: Rhubarb, Tonka, Lychee

The number of times that I’ve come away from some of the best meals in my life, and one of the standout dishes is something I’d never order in a million years, is, quite frankly, a little ridiculous.

It happened again at Faru. Rhubarb is (usually) something I can take or leave. But somehow, Jake has turned this into one of the showstopper dishes.

The theatre starts with a caramel top that you break through to experience an amazing mix of rhubarb, tonka, and lychee.

I can’t recall having tonka before, but that sweet, nutty, almost vanilla-like flavour will stay with me for a long time.

Bravo, Jake. Bravo.

Course #8: Hazelnut, Banana, Caramel

Course #8: Hazelnut, Banana, Caramel

Have you seen a prettier-looking desert than that on a plate? I’m not sure I have.

As a self-confessed chocoholic, this was right up my street. The richness of the hazelnut chocolate was sliced through by that banana ice cream.

At this point, I can’t recall what the jellies were on the top, but the dish was superb, and caramel sauce created that extra little kick just when you think you’ve met your match.

Course #9: Pineapple, Kaffir Lime & Lemon, Cow’s Curd

I’m looking back at the pictures and just laughing at how beautifully presented it all was. There have been so many courses where it’s almost been a shame to eat, and this was right up there.

Lemon and cow’s curd were pretty much exactly as you’d expect. It had a rich, creamy texture, with that glossy lemon curd appearance in which you could see your own reflection.

The only criticism here (and the only one for the whole meal) is that it could be a sharper kick of lemon for me. You know what I mean, that one that makes your cheeks pop.

We finished with the pineapple and kaffir lime sweet. It was jelly-like in consistency, not too dissimilar to jelly sweets, funnily enough.

A few more glasses of wine and a coffee or two, and we were done.

Restaurant Faru Review – Thank You!

Faru is right up there with some of the best restaurants I’ve eaten at. And that’s anywhere in the world, not just Durham.

Jake and Laura (and the staff) have created a brilliant fine-dining experience in the heart of Durham City. Something that we’ve needed for way too long.

What’s exciting for the pair is that they’ve shaped it brilliantly around the city. Sure, it’s a step up from what we expect to see, but I think it will pave the way for others to be brave and take the leap, which could lead to a food revolution in Durham, finally rivalling that of our noisy neighbours in Newcastle.

It’s difficult to command a premium price tag in the North East and thrive, but if anyone can do it, it’s Faru.

The most exciting part is that I think they will only get better. That coveted tyre company is right around the corner, and they’re already being touted for awards seemingly left, right and centre.

Thank you, Faru, for being an innovator in a city where few have dared to try.

Book your table at Faru Restaurant in Durham here: https://www.faru.co.uk/