A new-ish seafood joint on Newcastle’s trendy High Bridge street, just off Grey Street. If fishy suppers with finesse are your thing, you’ll love it here. It isn’t extortionate, but isn’t cheap. In other words, you get what you pay for – and that’s quality. Expect fresh-as-can-be, snow-white fillets of halibut, turbot and monkfish, just-caught langoustines, scallops, squid and octopus, oysters as big as your first and perky veggie sides. Washed down with a glass of crisp white vino, by candlelight, and you have yourself a pretty great set-up. Somewhere to celebrate life’s special moments, we say.
It’s a teeny-tiny restaurant – smaller than we had anticipated. Some diners may feel cramped, especially when it’s at total capacity, but if you ask us, the size does nothing but add to the cosy, intimate atmosphere. The vibe is hushed and deliciously serene, making it a great date-night destination. Decor-wise, nothing really jumps out, but it’s nice enough. Think simple brick walls, sleek mahogany tables and chairs and a large arty print (of a giant scallop shell – what else) on the wall.
A nice selection of wine, specially-chosen to complement your seafood delights. The staff are exceptional; they know their stuff and are more than happy to dish out the recommendations. Beer-wise, expect all your usual suspects. We were driving, but still wanted something fizzy, so the barman muddled up our own virgin cocktail, based on our favourite citrus flavours. It didn’t have a name, but it was light and bubbly and paired really well with our grub.
Fishermen dictate the menu – they’re the backbone of the restaurant. Wherever possible, the folk source the best fish from local inshore day boats, certified by the Responsible Fish Scheme. Fishy gifts come from nearby suppliers like Taylor Seafood, based at North Shields fish quay and Lindisfarne Oysters in Northumberland, as well as big names from down south, such as Wild Harbour in Cornwall. If you love your meat, you’ll also discover there’s beef fillet and roast Yorkshire poussin on offer, and for veggies, there’s the likes of roasted beets and beet tartar alongside wild rice, burrata, pickled blackberries and toasted hazelnuts. Portion-size is small, but presentation is sensational; small, colourful plates of art with foams, gels, rubbles and dust. That kind of stuff. Not everyone’s cup of tea, we know, but quite nice now and again.
WHAT WE ATE
We kicked things off with a couple of oysters (£2 each) – Lindisfarne for us and Cornish for our chum. Both were plump, glossy and fresh-as-can-be with tangy shallot vinegar dressing, but if we had to vote, Lindisfarne came up trumps. Especially good alongside fresh, warm wedges of sourdough with a trio of dipping sauces (£3.75). You get a pot of salty seaweed butter, garlicky taramasalata and black olive tapenade – all stupendous. For starters, we had to try the tuna – one of our favourites. Here, it’s yellowfin (£12.50), served raw, with plenty of lime for a zingy kick and raddish matchsticks for crunch. Decorated with edible flowers, it’s a beauty of a dish and is served with a dollop of green wasabi for heat. Our buddy’s hand-dived king scallop (£13.75) arrived mighty and meaty, topped with a peanut popcorn-like crumb, with flavours of pork and wakame seaweed (trust us – it’s a combo that works) and a mini jug of the kitchen’s very own ‘XO’ sauce, which you’re encouraged to pour over. This stuff looks, smells and tastes like the best gravy you can imagine. Light and velvety with deep smoky, beefy depth. According to the staff, customers love it so much, many ask for a jug of it for the table. We would’ve drank it if we could. For mains, we enjoyed a thick and tender fillet of cod (£22.50), coal roasted for a deliciously charred skin and flaky, fall-off-your-fork meat, with smooth, earthy celeriac purée, crispy chicken skin, white miso for a punch of umami flavour (our favourite element) and golden king oyster mushrooms. Just delicious. For our friend, it was a mini seafood party. A bowl full of tender squid, octopus tentacle (slightly tough, unfortunately, but beautifully pink and really flavoursome) and crunchy pork skin (£18.50). Bathed in a mussel consommé, which was little too salty for our liking, it was a great-looking plate of food, but we’d probably try something else next time. Don’t underestimate the sides here; the pickled cucumber and chilli salad (£3) is a total winner – and you get a lot of it. The steamed broccoli with sesame dressing (£3) went down a treat too. For puds, you must try the cereal milk panna cotta (£6). It’s divine; a sweet, creamy, wobbly triumph with tart red berries.