The Quayside Seaside is one of the best parts of Newcastle in the summer. At the slightest sign of sun, it is a fab spot to get a taste of the seaside without having to face the motorway. This year, its return has been jazzed up by the arrival of Riley’s Fish Shack to the sand.
Fitting its name, this semi-portable miniature fish restaurant is a rustic seaside shack gone stylish. Fitting snuggly on the end of the man-made beach, its views of the sandy shore of Quayside and jazzy, upbeat music makes it bring the real fish & chips, sea and sand feel to Newcastle, but better. Opened in June, this ‘lite’ version of their King Edwards Bay menu is a must for all food lovers.
For the sake of foodies everywhere, it was therefore unquestionable that I had to sample some of their seaside delicacies. Armed with a refreshing cider and a small pot of their fried potatoes with rosemary, thyme and garlic mayo, a homely but tasty fill-me-up, I spent time happily munching and enjoying the sun and lively music of Quayside.
Round two, empanadas (pronounced like bananas). Empanadas are Spanish fish pasties, which don’t sound particularly tasty, and as I’m not a huge fish fan, I was particularly sceptical about whether pastry and fish would work. I was pleasantly surprised. I cowardly went for their veggie option first, quickly devouring their spinach, mushroom, squash and goats cheese empanadas which was wonderfully delicious, the flavours blending together perfectly. More courageous after my first try, I braved a bite or two of my companion’s chilli monkfish cheek empanadas. This was not only beautiful cooked but the slight kick of chilli added that something extra that I was not expecting, a tastebud treat. Both empanadas were served with a small tomato and leaf salad that was refreshing and a nice touch (1 of your 5 a day ticked).
We also got a tasting of the chilli tempura whiting with tomato herb salad thanks to the manager. This dish was an instant favourite, the slight kick of chilli enhancing the gorgeous fish, a well-cooked, well-seasoned dish overall that I would recommend to anyone.
Great food, great music, great location and a fun, relaxing vibe, I have to say I cannot be anything but impressed with Riley’s Fish Shack. I definitely would recommend a visit, especially on one of those few days of sun!