Friday evening in Cockerton, Darlington.

This part of town is known for two things; being quiet, and being Takeaway Central, which is why I opted to try a small Italian restaurant that opened just a few months back.

Dough opened on West Auckland Road back in May of this year.

Run by the same people who started Salt on Grange Road in the town centre, they expanded following the success of their first food venture.

Although I’d never dined at Salt, it had great reviews so I was keen to try Dough.

I was on my way to pick up my friend Sana and as she had just been offered a new job, it seemed this weekend was a good opportunity to celebrate with a meal out.

Contrasting the chaos of a Friday night in Darlington town centre, Dough seemed a good choice for a chilled-out low-key evening.

The Northern Echo: Dough is on West Auckland Road in Cockerton, Darlington. Picture: AJA DODDDough is on West Auckland Road in Cockerton, Darlington. Picture: AJA DODD (Image: Aja Dodd, Newsquest)

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It was a smaller restaurant than I imagined. The interior was minimalistic with just four tables, with extra outside. There was no fancy décor or artwork hanging from the walls. Instead, there were a few lamps and wine bottles as ornaments.

The Northern Echo: Aja Dodd, NewsquestAja Dodd, Newsquest (Image: Aja Dodd, Newsquest)

First, we ordered drinks; a Coke for Sana and a Blood Orange San Pellegrino for me.

We picked something from the ‘Sharing’ section for our starter and had a generous portion of Caprese salad (£8.95) which tasted good. Granted, it was a safe option but we both enjoyed it. It’s hard not to like mozzarella, tomato, basil and olive oil and it hit the spot. We could have picked arancini or garlic bread which would probably have tasted great, but perhaps would have filled us up on carbohydrates before our mains.

The Northern Echo: Aja Dodd, NewsquestAja Dodd, Newsquest (Image: Aja Dodd, Newsquest)

For mains, Sana ordered a pesto canneroni dish (£9.95) and I ordered the Puttanesca pizza, (£15) which was off the specials menu.

Sana loved her pasta and nearly polished off the generous portion. Packed with garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, basil and cheese, it was a winner. She makes pesto a lot and was very pleased with her dish.

The Northern Echo: Pesto canneroni packed with garlic, basil, olive oil and cheesePesto canneroni packed with garlic, basil, olive oil and cheese (Image: Aja Dodd, Newsquest)

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My pizza was Neapolitan style, meaning the middle was ‘floppy’. I’d never actually tried a Neapolitan pizza before but was keen to give it a go. I’m a big Puttanesca sauce fan with pasta so I thought, why not try it on a pizza?

The toppings were; Fior de latte, anchovies, Kalamata olives, capers and oregano on a San Marzano tomato base.

The Northern Echo: Puttanesca pizza. Picture: Aja Dodd, NewsquestPuttanesca pizza. Picture: Aja Dodd, Newsquest (Image: Aja Dodd, Newsquest)

The dough was cooked really nicely, which, given the restaurant’s name, was a good start.

The dish on a whole, however, contained too much oil and salt. Of course, olives and anchovies are naturally salty but I did wonder if perhaps they had not been soaked/rinsed beforehand. I know my Puttanesca, and my mouth shouldn’t turn into the Sahara desert after one mouthful.

After one slice of my pizza, I ordered the mushroom taglialette (basically a cross between tagliatelle and linguine) which was so much nicer. It came in a creamy sauce which was packed full of mushrooms and tasted great. I wished I had just ordered this to begin with but was happy nonetheless.

The Northern Echo: Mushroom taglialette. Picture: Aja Dodd, NewsquestMushroom taglialette. Picture: Aja Dodd, Newsquest (Image: Aja Dodd, Newsquest)

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There was a good choice of meat-free dishes which was handy for us as Sana doesn’t eat meat.

Something new I experienced at Dough was the waiting staff asking if we would like new cutlery after each course instead of removing and replacing them as is usual. After some Googling the following day I discovered this is a trend that started in the United States, and for me, it can stay there.

Overall we had a great evening. The salty pizza and the cutlery situation made it fall slightly flat, however, both pasta dishes were delicious and the restaurant had a nice intimate feel and a cosy atmosphere. It struck me as an ideal date spot and I think we’ll both be going back.

The bill came to £52.30 for three soft drinks, one large sharing starter, the pizza (I was given a £4.05 discount) and the two pasta dishes.

The restaurant was cash-only but there is a cash machine just across the street at the Co-Op.

For drivers, there is parking at either the Co-Op on West Auckland Road or the other Co-Op at Cockerton shops.

There is also a bus stop at Cockerton library if you wish to continue your night in the town centre.



33 West Auckland Road


Tel: 01325 351561


Food Quality: 6

Service: 6

Surroundings: 8

Value for money: 6

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