Riley’s Fish Shack has got to be one of the top North East places to visit to taste some of the most fabulous fish cookery.
When Jay Rayner first waxed lyrically in the Guardian about the hidden gem on King Edwards Bay, Tynemouth, that is Riley’s fish shack, there was an immediate invasion. This appears to have continued as word has spread. So even us lucky locals have to time it just right to grab a seat at this most popular of spots.
A constant stream of customers and a slight price increase but it is definitely worth the queuing to take up a seat and taste the delights that this open air fish shack has to offer. Do not let first impressions of the shack fool you. This is definitely a place that offers the best food and atmosphere.
If you don’t know what I am talking about you must experience it for yourself. The fish shack is two shipping containers on the beach, serving the most phenomenal food on the North East coast. Nestled under the cliff side shadows of the magnificent Tynemouth Priory and Castle. Wrap up warmly and prepare for the steep climb down the steps to the beach to reach this gastronomic delight.
There are only a handful of seats inside the container which houses the kitchen and bar. Most of the seating is across the front of the open container ‘veranda style’ on high stools with spectacular views looking over the small bay and out across the North Sea. The only protection from the elements is the tarpaulin roof. Boots, coats and scarves are the dress code here.
You could be forgiven for thinking you were on a far flung beach somewhere in Asia or the Caribbean such is the wonderful vibe of the fish shack. But don’t worry the nippy sea air will bring you back to reality.
We chose a fresh but dry Friday lunchtime in October to take advantage of walking the dog on King Eddies beach and timing our visit to the fish shack.
Fortunately our choice of timing worked well and we didn’t have to wait too long to grab a stool. Even though I am on the beach most days the view out to sea is still always breathtaking.
All food is served in disposable boxes with wooden cutlery but don’t be fooled there are no chips or usual seaside fayre. This is top notch food served fresh and delicious. The menu is small and perfectly formed as they say, and the clue is in the title; most of the dishes are fish. What they do serve is spectacular and super tasty.
The fish cakes are an extremely popular choice. They are really large portions and the option of 3 is so tempting but so filling that you probably need to take one home to finish it off. Served with fabulous fresh and crunchy salad we also ordered a side of the irresistible garlicky potatoes. You can smell the flavoursome potatoes on your descent to the fish shack. They taste every bit as good as they smell so they are a must have.
The monkfish flatbread wrap was my meal of choice. A huge piece of fresh white monkfish served with crunchy salad, garlicky potatoes and an empanada ‘wrap’ straight from the wood fired oven.
The food is so crazy good and washed down with a couple of lagers, it is THE perfect way to spend a chilly autumnal Friday afternoon.
Food and drinks for two is around £40 and Riley’s Fish Shack is open all year round from about 9.30am through to about 10.00pm.
if you don’t fancy fish or open air dining I have a couple of great alternatives for you to read about.
Why not leave a comment below to tell me about your favourite restaurant.