When we recently found ourselves in Geordie country, we were inundated with people telling us that ‘we just had to go to Riley’s Fish Shack’ in the North East (about half an hour North of Newcastle). So we did. Boy oh Boy, beach food will never be the same.
We arrived late morning to find a small queue but after a bit of dithering over the delicious menu, it was snaking towards the top of the cliff and the blackboard menu charting the daily haul was already seriously reduced. This is not somewhere you can rock up at 2pm if you want your pick. The word is spreading.
WHEN IS A SHACK NOT A SHACK
Riley’s Fish Shack has been crudely created in an old shipping container perched on the side of the beach at King Edward’s Bay in Tynemouth. It’s a long descent down the stone steps but the location is worth every step – a glorious bay of creamy sand with the English coast rolling in.
There are a few tables inside behind large glass doors but with the weather being balmy we all sat on the beach in their carefully branded deck chairs scattered across the sand in little huddles of hungry people.
The shack belongs to Adam Riley and for two years ran a mobile fish cart on the beach. It’s street food for the beach. Local, Seasonal, lovingly cooked.
The constantly changing menu is simple yet extensive. All the fish is fresh and seasonal so obviously stocks are limited and as we found out, when it’s gone it’s gone. For our visit there was Lobster (seasonal pricing), Chargrilled Squid, Turbot with a Caper butter and Roast Cod on Puy Lentils, Pancetta and Parmesan Crumb. There is also a delicious array of wraps.
Riley’s is a revelation. Incredible food, served simply. We need more of this in the UK. Bold belief in our delicious ingredients and letting nature take the lead.
Please can we have one down South? ASAP?
Rileys’ Fish Shack, King Edward’s Bay, Tynemouth, NE30 4BY
Tel: (0191) 257 1371
Photos models own and nigeljohn.com