ELDER & WOLF, WHITLEY BAY

We head to Whitley's winner for wood-fired delights, gourmet tapas and mouthwatering meats...

Hang out
If you haven’t tried the grub this coastal newbie (‘best newcomer restaurant’ at the British Kebab Awards don’t you know?) has to offer, then we urge you to stop by on your next seaside jaunt. It’s a cool hang-out indeed, with a deliciously laid-back atmosphere that’ll have you feeling you’ve snuck away to warmer climes where every day feels like the weekend. It’s sunny and inviting, ran by a bunch of sprightly locals who deliver second-to-none customer service – the genuine kind that lifts your spirits – as well as the foodie goods.

Decked out
Exposed stonework, fresh white tiles, hanging vines, twinkly lights and contemporary, bar-style tables and chairs makes this place an effortlessly good-looking place interiors-wise. The kitchen, as you’d expect, takes centre stage – and it’s great to be able to see the team’s dough experts getting to work in live, mouthwatering action, plunging their handmade creations into the fiery depths of the oven, before revealing oozy, gooey masterpieces minutes later.

Sip
Beer, lager, vino and an array of spirits, all your usual suspects really, but we loved the cocktails the most. Our chum knocked back a Whiskey Sour and we settled on a Lychee Martini (both £7.95) or two, but we’ll be trying a Frozen Margarita or one of their gin-infused concoctions next time.

Food matters
Tuck in to quick-as-can-be wood-fired pizzas, topped with moreish, gourmet combos like seared king prawns and chorizo, oozy goats cheese and caramelised onions and oak-smoked salmon and dill. There are fluffy, handmade flatbreads, too, with charred halloumi, ‘posh pork kebabs’ and handmade brunchy taco platters (available for vegans too), joined by an assortment of dips, sauces and extras nibbly bits. Everything is served as soon as it leaves the flames, ensuring maximum flavour and the best – the dreamiest – pizza dough you could ever hope to try.

We ate
We spent far too long trying to decide on what to order – you’ll be the same if you love your dough – but in the end, decided to go for one of the venue’s best-sellers, The ‘Geordie’ Steak Bake, after hearing so many good things about it from other locals. Order it when you go and dig in to base of homemade tomato sauce (which had a slight garlicky kick – just how we like it), melty dollops of Manchego cheese, sweet caramelised onions, sprigs of fragrant, wood-roasted rosemary, topped with tender strips of local, master-butchered rump steak, charred to perfection. Size-wise, it was just enough for one – though we couldn’t help stealing one or two slices. The dough stole our hearts; slightly crispy on the outside, but wonderfully soft and fluffy on the inside – a bit on the stodgy side, which we loved. For our mains, it was the handmade tacos, served on a chunky wooden platter board, filled with wood-fired ancho chilli beef. The extras were quite something; an array of sweet, spicy, tangy Latino salsas – everything from traditional tomato to a pickle-like chilli concoction – smoky Cuban beans, creamy purple slaw and tongue-tingling sauces of dipping. A dish that really kept our tastebuds on their toes – and filled our bellies with authentic, South American-style flavour. Kudos to the team for ensuring zero gristle when it came to the meat and tacos that weren’t soaked in oil or resembled Walkers crisps. These were more like mini flatbreads – perfect for soaking up the rainbow of condiments. One of the best meals we’ve had in ages – and definitely the best we’ve had down at the coast.


elderandwolf.com

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