River Cafe on the Tyne, North Shields
One of the things I missed while we were in Brazil was a good old Sunday lunch. No-one does a dinner quite like the English, and I was really wanting a decent Yorkie pud. Following on from the disappointing experience we had at The Engine Room, we were wanting guarantees it was going to be good, so I took to Twitter and asked for a recommendation. Someone suggested River Cafe on the Tyne and, although we had to wait until 2:30 to get a reservation, I was game to give it a try.
I was disappointed at having to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke to get to the restaurant due to people from the pub next door standing outside. Most off-putting. and not the best introduction to the restaurant, it has to be said.
The interior is light and airy, and there are good views over the river.. as the name might suggest! We had booked a table, but were offered one of the high tables in the bar area as we’d arrived early and ours wasn’t ready. Because of the view I was happy to take this alternative, although again the cigarette smoke was a problem as the windows were open.
I wasn’t taken with any of the starter options on the Sunday lunch menu, but Mr. Canny was keen to try their Thai Fish Cakes with Pickled Cucumber. They arrived accompanied by Chilli Jam, and looked a bit ‘loose’ in texture. He didn’t seem to mind, but I would have expected them to be firmer. Jnr and I split a bread portion between us to get us through until our mains arrived.
I ordered the Crispy Belly Pork, while Jnr had Beer Battered Market Fish and Chips. He’s not as big a fan of the humble Sunday roast as we are, and takes great delight in eating fish when we dine out as I don’t cook it at home. Mr. Canny ordered Wallington Beef, which arrived beautifully pink.
I don’t tend to tweet pictures of where we are eating while in the restaurant unless it’s good, so the fact I posted about River Cafe while in situ was a good sign. My only gripe was that my Yorkie pud tasted slightly ‘caught’, but I know some people like that. They were a good size, and clearly made fresh. The Crispy Pork and the Beef were both melt in the mouth, the vegetables on the side were fresh and al dente, and the roasties were crisp. Jnr struggled through his plate, unusually for him, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I was the only one who ordered pud, and opted for the Apple & Cinnamon Fool with Oat Crumble. The tart of the apples worked well against the creaminess of the fool, and was given a generous helping of the crumble, which gave texture to a dessert that would otherwise have been in baby food territory. We did find a few pieces of tough skin, which I always try hard to avoid when I’m making my own crumbles, and I felt uncouth having to spit them out.
According to the website this is David Kennedy’s River Cafe, but the chef has moved on to other projects. Because of this I wasn’t sure what to expect, but for £9.50 this is definitely a plate of grub worth travelling down to the Fish Quay for. 2 courses are a modest £12.50, which I think is excellent value for money for the standard of food we received on the day. They just need to get those smokers moved!
Thanks for reading,
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