Planning a trip up north? Looking for something to do on the weekend? Get a bunch of your friends together and head to Newcastle for Riley’s Fish Shack.
Riley’s Fish Shack is just that. Fashioned from a shipping container on a rugged and perfectly picturesque stretch of Tynemouth beach. If you didn’t know it was there, it’s not a place you’d just stumble upon, it’s slightly hidden underneath a rock. A gem.
A small coastal stairway leads down to the sea and the shack; there are usually fires going, dogs and kids playing in the sand, people wrapped in blankets drinking wine – and a good 70s/80s soundtrack. It’s seriously chilled vibes and you can be sure you’re going to get some of the UK’s tastiest and freshest fish. There’s fresh air and salt spray – you’re far away from London, which means you’re not paying in excess either.
If you’re going to Riley’s you have to be fully aware that it can take a while to get your food. But we promise it’s worth the wait. There’s no table service, you order your food at the counter in view of the rustic, open kitchen, where two guys are cooking up a storm on big open fires and a wood oven. The menu, as you’d expect is completely dependent on what the fishermen have brought in that day.
On a busy day it might take 40 minutes to get to the front of the queue and 40 minutes for your food to come, so do arrive early enough to avoid getting hangry.
Waiting isn’t too tricky with that view, chill with a lager (on tap) and there’s three decent whites, three reds, a rosé and a nice coffee machine so you can have a good espresso at the end. Watch the ocean, relax with your friends and enjoy the divine smells coming from that kitchen.
All food is served in cardboard boxes with perfect crispy potatoes, green salsa, salad, flatbread and garlic aioli. Expect dishes like Scottish langoustines, crispy skin Halibut and buttered samphire. The chilli fish empanadas are packed with flavour and are the size of your palms. The first bite is to die for – perfectly cooked. 5 Whole roasted Scottish Langoustines are just £12, you’re definitely not in London anymore. Great portions and such great value.
When Jay Rayner visited he wrote ‘Call off the search. Close down the web browser and put away the guidebooks. I have found the eating experience of the year.’
This is it. Fresh, honest food at its best and the attention to detail is perfect.
Riley’s Shack is just a 25-minute taxi ride from Newcastle station.