I wanted to share a few of my foodie highlights with you from the last couple of months as there have been some real gems. The longer we live here, the more we love it as it feels like there’s so much to discover on the food scene.
Riley’s Fish Shack
It was the last weekday before I started my new job, so Matthew and I decided to make the most of it and check out the newly opened Riley’s Fish Shack down on King Edward’s Bay in Tynemouth. It could not have been a more stunning October day, unseasonably warm and making us very glad that we’ve moved to such a beautiful place.
As we approached the smoking fish shack, we got wafts from the BBQ and joined the prosecco-quaffing lunchtime crowd at the back of the queue – this place has very quickly got a reputation for being THE hottest place in town. It’s a very simply designed stylish wooden shack with uninterrupted views of the surf. There are a few cosy benches to sit on at high tables in the covered area at the back, or you can sit on high stools looking out to sea.
The concept is simple, choose the type of fish you’d like and have it served up with a selection of salads, wood-fired bread, aoili and smokey chilli relish with mini roasties on the side. On the day we visited there was fresh mackerel, lobster, monkfish or squid all cooked fresh to order until supplies run out. You can get your drinks in while you wait for your order to be made, so we sat on the beach with a couple of chilled beers until our number was called.
I opted for salt and pepper squid – ultra fresh and soft with a delicious chargrilled flavour. Matthew being a veggie had all of the sides which made for a feast. Packed with flavour, attractive colours and textures, it really was a luxe beach picnic.
Our only feedback would be to have given the roasted potatoes a bit longer and we also thought that some grilled halloumi would be a magnificent addition to their menu for the vegetarian crowd. Oh yes, and can you open a branch in Whitley Bay?!
If you’re ever in Tynemouth you really must check them out… they’re open Wednesday – Sunday and really do have THE best spot in the area. Support them and keep them open – we need to have more places like this!
Disclosure: We paid for our own meals and drinks
I was sent these three bottles of wine to try from Aldi’s award winning selection. I was impressed with all three, they’re varieties that I love but would normally associate with higher prices – especially the Gavi and Pinot Noir. Naturally Aldi are offering them up at a brilliant price, so they’re well worth checking out next time you’re in store. Here are the tasting notes:
The Exquisite Collection Gavi – £5.49 (75cl)
Produced from the Cortese grapes grown around the town of Gavi in the outstanding Piemonte wine region, the Exquisite Collection Gavi is refreshing and aromatic boasting flavours of tangy lemon, weighty fruit and subtle waxy nuttiness. Enjoy a glass of this Italian white wine alongside antipasti, creamy pasta sauces or risotto.
Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir – £4.39 (75cl)
This delightful, elegant red has soft smooth flavours of rich red fruits and lush berries. With carefully selected Pinot Noir grapes from across France, the delicious Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir is perfect when paired with roast lamb and shared with family and friends.
The Exquisite Collection Limestone Coast Cabernet – £6.49 (75cl)
Intense flavours of juicy blackcurrant, cherries, eucalyptus and mocha notes, try pairing it with a warming winter meal such as steak or duck.
Find out more at www.aldi.co.uk
Disclosure: I was sent these bottles of wine to review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own
The Boiler Shop Steamer
This fabulous old venue behind the Central Station in Newcastle city centre where Robert Stephenson invented the Rocket, plays host to this unique monthly fiesta of pop-up street food and live music. It was dreamed up by Adam Riley of Riley’s Fish Shack and Matt Boyle of Wylam Brewery.
I first went with an old friend in September and loved it so much I took Matthew and some friends along in October for the last opening of 2015.
While it’s hipster central with plenty of checked shirts and beards to admire, the atmosphere is friendly and buzzing. You pay £5 to get in and then swap cash for tokens to spend at the various food stalls and trucks. It’s an eclectic mix of global food offerings – Latin, Middle Eastern, American, British, Italian, South East Asian… whatever floats your boat you’ll find it. Drinks wise there’s a funky gin palace with cute staff mixing up cocktails, local beer from Wylam Brewery, and my new favourite expresso martinis from the OCC. All this with a background of banging beats and twinkly strings of lights – it’s the best way to kick off the first weekend of every month.
It’s reopening in Spring 2016 and I suggest very strongly you get yourself and a group of mates along as it’s the business. Just make sure you get there early or you’ll be queuing for AGES!
Disclosure: I paid for my own tokens and entry to this event
This is a quirky little subscription service where you get sent all the ingredients needed for one single cheese toastie through the post in a smart package that’s little enough to fit through your letterbox . The only equipment you’ll need is a regular toaster, as you get sent a little Teflon Toasty bag to pop your sandwich in.
We were sent four flavours to try out, which we did in the form of a blindfold taste test with the boys who are both huge fans of cheese toasties.
Here’s what we thought:
1. Apple Pie: apple sauce, cinnamon and red leicester
The boys both guessed this flavour straight away and LOVED it… I thought it was really tasty and a great idea for an unconventional quick dessert.
2. Strawberry Shortcake: strawberry, biscuit butter and mascarpone
Arlo thought this tasted “gross”, Sam thought it tasted like biscuit and white chocolate and loved it. I quite enjoyed it – the biscuit butter gave it a cheesecake quality. It was a bit on the messy side though.
3. Hawaiian: mozzarella, bacon jam and pineapple
This is my kind of flavour – sweet and savoury together, so I was loving this one. However Arlo said it was terrible, and Sam wasn’t too keen either.
4. Chilli Con Queso: Monterey Jack, cream cheese and chilli pickle
Not really a combo the boys were going to love, so it was amusing watching them taste this blindfolded. Arlo thought it tasted of sick and Sam said it had the consistency of cottage cheese.
Overall verdict: At £3.99 a throw you wouldn’t sign up for this purely for the love of cheese toasties which are super simple to make yourself. However I reckon it’d make the perfect gift for a student, as a desk treat for an office worker who has access to a toaster or perhaps for a friend who’s just had a baby. I wouldn’t try and feed it to the kids again though as the flavours were a little bit too out there for them! Definitely a treat for grown-ups…