A FEW weeks back I talked about the mushrooming number of places to eat in Northallerton after a long spell when the county town seemed to be a Bermuda Triangle for hospitality businesses.

Now your team of reviewers have to run the rule over all these new establishments. As I may have said before, it’s a tough job but… etc, etc.

One of the new arrivals we have found rather intriguing is 1Twenty7 Café and Open Kitchen which started in the depths of the 2021 lockdown when it was initially only able to offer a takeaway service of drinks, bread and cakes.

But there was something a bit different about this High Street enterprise from the off – completely aside from the bizarre circumstances of Covid-19 trading.

Firstly, the décor is, how can I put this, striking. Those who remember when this was Olivia’s café will not recognise it thanks to the two massive murals covering the main wall spaces. You will either love 'em or hate 'em, depending perhaps on whether you view graffiti as a blot on the landscape or welcome free expression of youth culture.


Striking murals on the walls of 1Twenty7 Café and Open Kitchen in Northallerton

Striking murals on the walls of 1Twenty7 Café and Open Kitchen in Northallerton


And 1Twenty7 Café and Open Kitchen didn’t just open under that name. It was, as its signage and branding proudly declared, “by Chef Gary Duffy”.

Who? Well, I asked that question too and thanks to the good ‘ole t’internet discovered he had been head cheffing at the seriously posh and expensive Rockliffe Hall, near Darlington. That’s the Rockliffe Hall which opened 13 years ago and has been busting a gut to win a Michelin star for its Orangery Restaurant throughout that time with no success.


Striking murals on the walls of 1Twenty7 Café and Open Kitchen in Northallerton

Striking murals on the walls of 1Twenty7 Café and Open Kitchen in Northallerton


Nevertheless, head chef at Rockliffe Hall is the nearest you can get to a local celebrity chef round here and perhaps justified the boastful branding.

When easing Covid restrictions allowed 1Twenty7 to open properly, a fine dining menu was offered. That’s the full seven-course tasting palaver for £75 a head. Which was brave for Northallerton. Somebody will no doubt correct me but I don’t think Northallerton had ever experienced this sort of thing before.

The fine dining thing was short-lived. Which was a shame because we were looking forward to finding out what magic Mr Duffy was going to do with some spuds and a leek to justify its place on the main course menu – “Leek and Potato: new potato, chard (sic) leek – potato crisp” was the full description – for no less than £18.

After only a few weeks, the fine dining menu had been downgraded to something altogether more prosaic – for example, cottage pie, parmo and penne pasta with tomato and basil. Pricing was still on the steep side – for example macaroni cheese for £12.

Then the evening service was scrapped and at some point in this culinary downsizing ‘Chef Gary Duffy’ also disappeared– his name being rather ignominiously obliterated on the café fascia board by the number for takeaway orders.

So now opening is just 9am-4pm Tuesday to Saturday and the offer is breakfast/brunch/lunch with cakes and traybakes also available.

The eating experience at 1Twenty7 is a tad prescriptive. A few weeks before we called for breakfast we had popped in for a coffee. We thought a teacake might be nice too. “We don’t serve teacakes,” we were told. A scone perhaps? The answer was the same.

And so it was that when we ordered a full English (£13) and Eggs Benedict/Florentine (£10.50) on our second visit we thought some extra sourdough toast and marmalade would be good but were told that they didn’t serve marmalade. I mean, what’s that all about? A traditional breakfast without one of its fundamental accompaniments?


The full breakfast at 1Twenty7 Café and Open Kitchen

The full breakfast at 1Twenty7 Café and Open Kitchen


We had a good view of the open kitchen at work as our breakfasts were prepared and that allowed us to watch as the cooked bacon, toasted muffin, sausage and black pudding sat under the warming lights as the more elaborate elements of the eggs Benedict/Florentine were cooked.

That was bad news for the bacon which was leathery by the time it reached us. The two fried eggs were also overcooked.

But the quality sausage was fine, as was the black pudding (the peerless triangular Doreen’s). The baked beans were … baked beans.

The poached eggs for the Benedict were perfect and also the hollandaise sauce which was provided in copious quantities.


Eggs Benedict/Florentine - the poached eggs for the Benedict were perfect

Eggs Benedict/Florentine - the poached eggs for the Benedict were perfect


The Florentine was spoilt by the grievously-over-salted spinach.

Finally, the sourdough toast was almost inedible because it was rock hard, as sourdough tends to be when toasted.

With two orange juices and two good coffees, the bill was £34.30. That was a pricey brekkie considering something was knocked off the total after we complained about the toast.

I would have liked to be kinder about 1Twenty7. It opened in the teeth of the pandemic. It is trying to do something different in a market which has plenty of traditional café/dining options and that is definitely what Northallerton needs.

The staff are lovely and happily knocked off the bill whatever they were going to charge for the rock-hard sourdough.

But even though they have already radically changed the concept and opening hours, it probably needs further fine tuning. Marmalade on the breakfast/brunch menu would be a start.

1Twenty7 Café and Open Kitchen

127 High Street, Northallerton DL7 8PQ

Tel: 07467 716327 Web: www.1twenty7.co.uk

Open: 9am-4pm Tuesday to Saturday

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 7 Service 8 Surroundings 7 Value 6