Dean Bailey heads to Longsands Fish Kitchen for a very long lunch
When the sea is within yards of the kitchen door, chefs have a duty to showcase its produce at its best. While many do battered cod a great service on the North East coast, Simon Walsh and the team at Longsands Fish Kitchen have built their reputation for that and much more; serving up faultless fish cooking in numerous forms day in, day out, within sight of the North Sea.
A passion for local fish and respect for those who land it is at the heart of this place, hence the names of the boats which land the day’s catch are chalked on the wall alongside the daily specials.
On our most recent visit, the specials board lists fish which thrive in North Sea waters at this time of year; one of our favourites, Skrei cod – a strapping fish found in cold Norwegian waters blessed with big flakes of robust white flesh – is a perfect partner for an earthy black pudding mash and zingy balsamic shallots.
A spicy shrimp burger, meanwhile, partners smoky spice flavours with a cool lime and coriander mayo and sweet pickles, served with golden chips cut from Cambridgeshire’s best agria potatoes.
Thai heat and crisp panko breadcrumbs make for sublime fish cakes, while chilli injects just the right level of heat into salt and chilli squid with Thai sweet chilli sauce and more of that refreshing lime and coriander mayo.
To finish, syrup-soaked rhubarb and vanilla custard topped with meringue and lashings of whipped cream presents a very tidy take on Eton mess, while chocolate brownie and salted caramel ice cream declares itself the day’s showstopper.
Beer is supplied by the excellent Tyne Bank and Black Sheep breweries, while the gin menu includes regional favourites Hepple, Tynemouth and Newcastle.
Here at Longsands Fish Kitchen restaurant, tucked behind its popular Front Street-facing takeaway, the menu is entirely dictated by the catch and the endless imagination of the talented team, which means it is different every time you go. And while we’re blessed in this part of the world with some serious fish chefs, Longsands is consistently among the very best – and most imaginative – in the business.
It’s also good value – three courses for two plus drinks coming in at just under £60 – a steal!
Longsands Fish Kitchen Front Street, Tynemouth NE30 4DZ, tel 0191 272 8552, www.longsandsfishkitchen.com