As I’ve become older, Ive taken more of a fancy to fish. This isn’t to say that I’m over meat but I recognise it’s importance in my diet. From Omega 3 fatty acids to vitamins and minerals, fish is something that should be on everyone’s menu.
I cook fish at home quite a bit but have never gravitated towards fish on a restaurant menu unless it was prawns, mussels and the likes so to actually go to a fish restaurant- that was a whole new ball game.
Situated on King Edwards bay in Tynemouth, Riley’s is a place that can’t be missed due to its long queues and woodfire smoke filling the air and tempting those casually passing by.
Spearheaded by a husband and wife team who started with a fish cart on the beach, the Shack has even had a recent nomination at the World Food Awards.
The shack is a 20-minute car journey from Newcastle city centre and about 50 minutes via public transport. The closest Metro station is Tynemouth, with a short walk to the beach.
Opening times and menu
The place opens at 9:30 in the morning every day and closing most days at 10pm. Do check their website for exact times as there is a discrepancy between times advertised on Google and the website itself.
The food menu itself is fluid but you can check on their website for the kind of seafood you can expect. Oh, and apparently they also do breakfast! On the day I visited they had enough to satisfy my tastebuds so unless you’re going for a specific dish (like lobster) then you shouldn’t be disappointed.
In terms of drinks, they do have a wide variety, from fizzy drinks, to beer and wine. We opted for a hot chocolate for me and a lattê for daddy.
Riley’s has a seating area both inside and outside and provides deck chairs for those sunny days.
The North sea doesn’t exactly bring Caribbean temperatures so prepare for cool winds if sitting on the stools just outside the shack itself. Warm clothing is appropriate and if you’re lucky enough to catch one of the limited seats inside the shack itself then blankets are available to drape yourself with whilst feeling the warmth from the wood-burning heaters. During warmer weather, deck chairs are provided.
We ordered a round of Lindisfarne Oysters as a starter. You can purchase them singularly at £2.80 each but in order to bring you a full review (and because we really do love to eat!) I opted to have two of each flavour(£14 for 6); Mignonette, which are the red onion and vinegar ones, Rockefeller ones, which consist of butter, herbs, garlic and breadcrumbs. Last but by no means the least, the classic version which is basically lemon juice and Tabasco sauce.
I didn’t actually have a favourite but if pushed, I would have said that the Rockerfeller ones were my favourite because come on, it’s garlic and butter! That combination goes perfectly with anything.
I was blown away by the oysters not only for their freshness but also for their flavour but also for the right quantity of the ingredients being used. I wasn’t prepared for the mains at all.
Daddy ordered the steak with potatoes cooked on the fire oven and accompanied by a vinaigrette salad and two sauces, a Chipotle styled hot sauce and mayonnaise. He also had a wrap on the side.
I ordered the squid and this arrived with the same salad, potatoes etc as daddy. Words cannot explain how tasty both meals were but picture this: Both daddy and I kept making noises of satisfaction instead of any actual words!
Cooking squid and calamari can be a bit hit and miss because it has such a small window of cooking time. Go over that and you’ll be chewing on tough, rubbery seafood but the squid was perfectly cooked.
Daddy’s steak was also perfectly cooked and on par with fillet steak in terms of texture. The mayonnaise had been light mixed with mustard sauce with gave it the initial tang but nothing to worry about.
We ended up being so full that we didn’t even have dinner later on at home.
Riley’s is definitely that kind of place where you leave satisfied and wishing you could go back again.
Please note that:
- Arrive early! This place can get extremely busy and week-days are no different.
- Prices can be a tad on the expensive side but this is mitigated by the fact that it’s good , fresh and quality food cooked upon request.
- Make sure that you are wearing warm clothing as you may end up having to eat your meal outside the shack.
- You will end up smelling of wood smoke so whatever you do, do not wear your best clothes. Don’t let that put you off though because it’s good, unpretentious food.
Have you been to Riley’s?