Lap of the gods

David Kennedy, of NE2 Food Social, on the pleasures of lap of lamb


There’s much to be said for wandering off the beaten track and challenging yourself to discover little-known cuts of meat.

You may be surprised by the great value for money of lesser-known cuts, and the richness and variety of flavours. You may also make your butcher’s day, as most love nothing more than helping their customers discover new cuts and how to use them.

Lap, or breast, of lamb is one of those old cuts which has inexplicably gone out of fashion, yet it’s a great cut and unbelievable value for money at not much over a couple of quid for a kilo.

You will probably have had it minced or cubed for stews and soups, but I like to use the whole cut, slow cooked to bring out the richness of flavour.

At the restaurant, we prep it by removing the sinew, but leaving the bones and marinating it in garlic, thyme, rosemary and Oleifera cold-pressed rapeseed oil.

We then encase the cut in a vacuum pack and put it in a temperature-regulated water bath to slow cook for 24 hours. Then, we plunge it straight into iced water to stop the cooking. Then, when we’re ready, we roast it in a hot oven for 20 minutes prior to serving.

There’s nothing like it, presented on a wooden slab with home-grown mint sauce and a tray of seasonal veg and a jug of gravy.

At home, you can roast it or slow cook it; simply ask your butcher for tips.


Proper, dirty veg, pulled the day it’s cooked can’t be beaten. You can’t get fresher or better than produce from North County Organics, grown by Ken Holland – a man as passionate as anyone I’ve ever met about great vegetables.

Great veg for lamb:

Fennel roasted in Oleifera cold-pressed rapeseed oil  

Banana shallots cooked in their skins with sea salt, lamb fat and garlic cloves (squeeze the puree from the garlic, separate the shallots from their skins and serve)

Spring onions, chargrilled or roasted.

Boulangere potatoes, sliced thinly and baked at 160C for 40 minutes with chicken stock and thyme.

David recommends

Lap of Lamb

David sources most of his lamb from the Wallington estate in Northumberland and is also about to start using new-season lamb from Sunnyhill Farm, near Belford, which is where he already sources his eggs and Lindisfarne oysters.


Oleifera cold-pressed rapeseed oil

Unlike any other culinary oil, rapeseed oil is known for its rich colour and taste. Oleifera, which is grown in Northumberland, the Borders and Lincolnshire, is renowned for its versatility, purity and exceptional quality and as one of the healthiest oils available.



The Grainger Market, Newcastle

Every cut of meat you can imagine, butchered by experts. Go and see it, and learn from the men in the striped aprons.

Grainger Market, Newcastle, NE1 5QQ

North Country Organics

Ken Holland and his family have a true passion for growing the finest organic vegetables and produce superb produce from a Georgian walled garden bordering the Wallington estate in Northumberland.

For veg boxes, see



David Kennedy is chef proprietor of NE2 Food Social at The Biscuit Factory, Stoddart Street, Newcastle, NE2 1AN, tel 0191 260 5411. Open Mon-Sat for lunch (noon-2pm) and dinner (5.30pm-10pm), and for lunch on Sundays, noon-3pm. Follow on Twitter @NE2foodsocial

David Kennedy was recently quoted saying “there is a lot to be said for wandering off the beaten track and challenging yourself to discover little-known cuts of meat”.

David applies the same rule to the restaurant he owns and at David Kennedy’s Food Social he has created something both excellent and, without a doubt, off the beaten track.

He and the team at Food Social believe passionately in good, honest food enjoyed in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.

Although this appears unoriginal, it is something you will have to discover for yourself.

Locally sourced ingredients, including catches of the day from North Shields fish Quay, Northumbrian reared lamb and beef and fruit and vegetables hand picked by Ken and Tracey of North Country Organics are the backbone of their well balanced and seasonal menu.

David’s new take on the Tapas style of food is something which again shouldn’t be missed and features such little delights as beer battered marinated artichokes, salted white fish fritters and home-made chorizo meatballs, just to name a few.

Good food demands good service and the front of house team at food social are committed to offering excellent service to match the quality of food produced in the kitchen and is continually growing in knowledge to pass on to their guests.

David Kennedy’s Food Social @ The Biscuit Factory, Stoddart Street, Newcastle, NE2 1AN, tel 0191 260 5411


Monday – Friday 12:00-14:00

Saturday 12:00-15:00

Sunday 12:00-15:00


Monday – Friday 17:30-21:00

Saturday 17:30-22:00

Sunday – Closed

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