A new fine dining eatery - focusing on brunch, lunch and small plates - has opened up in Durham City. 

Isla, from the team behind Coarse, opened on North Road, in Durham, last week. 

Building on the success of their tasting menu sister venue Coarse, which was opened by head chef Ruari MacKay, his partner Gemma, the manager, and director Craig Lappin-Smith in September 2022.

A departure from their seasonal tasting menu, down the road at Isla the team will be serving up breakfast and brunch each morning, followed by small plates and sharing platters in the afternoon. 

The team behind the popular tasting menu restaurant wrote about their new venture, saying: "We aimed to open a place with Coarse that we wanted to go to ourselves. 

(Image: Sarah Caldecott)

"Good food, good wine and cocktails, friendly approachable staff and for a fair price. 

"That's pretty much what we want to achieve with Isla, named after our strong-willed and charismatic 5-year-old. 

"Big up North Road!"

The new restaurant has a broad range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free dishes, with much of the menu able to be tweaked for dietary requirements.

Durham's North Road has had a troubled last few years, with worries that Durham's bus station redevelopment drove some independent businesses to throw in the towel. 

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Isla takes over the cafe unit that was formerly Bean Social, a cafe with a community ethos, which shut in late March 2024. 

But now that the shiny new station is operational, the road seems to have turned a corner, with businesses keen to open up stores along the street. 

Isla by Coarse can be found on 53 North Road, Durham.