TL; DR version: Best fish and chips in the North-East.
Call off the search – there’s finally somewhere for reliable, gorgeous, make you happy fish and chips.
You know the score; Thursday night, can’t be arsed cooking, and you have the seemingly genius idea of getting some fish and chips. So you go to your “usual”, full of bounding excitement, warm the plates, get five bottles of Sarsons ready, and when you unwrap your bounty, it’s just a soggy grease-fest? The batter has mushed and all stuck to the fish, it’s just been sitting under the hot lamp for too long, but you eat them anyway, and have massive feelings of guilt and gluttony for the following 24 hours, claiming “we’re never going back there”?
Well, fret no more, there’s finally somewhere that does the shit-hot fish and chips that you remember through your rose-tinted glasses from days gone by, and have dreamt of ever since. Longsands Fish Kitchen (NE30 4DZ).
Chip shops come and go, but it’s taken a proper effort here from Simon Walsh – former gaffer at Close House to produce something restaurant quality. I’d have thought a Newcastle restaurant would have tackled the high end chip shop by now – 21 Fish & Chips perhaps, but Front Street has always been a chippy hotspot so it’s a natural fit. They’ve done a smart job of decking out the old Roy’s Bakery too, it’s crisp, clean, and doesn’t play too heavily on a clichéd nautical theme.
Longsands opened last year and since then, we’ve made the one hour round trip several times, escaping with fish and chips for two for around twelve quid. I do wonder how Marshalls et al are getting on now…
The fish and chips in takeaway guise, or for only a quid or so more next door in the main restaurant – I can’t really fault, except for saying they won’t use beef dripping so you lose that intense umami hit in the fry. Other than that – ????. Fish is sustainably caught, even the cod and haddock, and actually tastes of fish, not mushy defrosted fishy water like many chip shops. Chips, well if you can find better for £1.70, let me know. Maybe it was the surprise element the first time I had these, but I’d take them over anywhere in Whitby, Northumberland, or even maybe Colmans. Bold claims.
Also on the takeaway menu there’s a brilliant fish finger sandwich with a burger-esque gherkin sauce, really tasty plump scampi, and whopping battered prawns, but whatever you order – try the chip-shop style curry sauce of your dreams (£1) which we can’t help but get every single time.
On the main menu, there’s a good-looking goan monkfish curry I’ve got my eye on, scallops in a chorizo stew, the ubiquitous prawn cocktail, and everything you’d expect at a quality fish restaurant including a grand fruits de mer. I think it’s gotta be the LFK fish pie next time though:
Service is quick and pretty laid back, there’s no cheeky service charges, and the drinks are sensibly chosen and priced. We’ve trekked down to Tynemouth a couple of times and found the restaurant fully booked, but that’s fine when you can nip next door and take out, saving yourself a quid or two. Bonus – you can get yourself down the Priory and scran there. The Tynemouth coast on a bright day, with a fresh summer breeze, and some perfect fish and chips – there’s nowt much better than that.
If you do sit in, they’ve recently launched a two course, ten quid menu. Seriously good value… we had fish soup this week, all tinged with fennel and loaded with chunks of fish and clams, and a big old pot of soft and sweet mussels with some sourdough for mopping up a lovely creamy stock. Teriyaki salmon came lavished in a lovely sticky marinade, well cooked and garnished with a simple (spicy!) salad. Kate enjoyed the smoked haddock fish cakes but commented they were a bit tight on fish content and crispiness. The poached egg, and parsley cream though, spot on.
Loads of people have been bigging up Tynemouth as a little bit of a burgeoning hotspot over the past couple of years – me, I’ve always thought it’s a bit of a basic bitch compared to Newcastle. It’s all been food that’s alright but just wouldn’t cut it in the city. All the “tapas” restaurants, AKA “let’s deep fry anything” don’t really do it for me. I think Tynemouth’s really been lacking the killer feature making it worth the trip down the coast.
Now it has one. An absolute must visit!
Food hygiene rating: 5/5