River Beat is one of those places in Newcastle that ‘rings a bell’ but you can’t put your finger on where it is. I had been browsing on the Street Away App (more of that later), and seen that it was pretty popular so off I galloped (slow trot in high heels to the Uber) wearing my heaviest but worth the pain horse chandelier earrings and new Topshop dress.
River Beat is tucked away next to Baja Beach club ‘the biggest party on the planet’ - now closed so no more partying (oh the irony) with Mr. Blobby or a giant Shark, for those of you that are old enough to remember - yes me. I’m always wanting to try something new (unless that new thing involves water sports or smiling a lot) and if you follow the local ladies ‘Toonfatladies’ on Instagram as I do, they have a constant stream of new delicious places to eat in the North East.
I had booked for 8.30pm, which is early for me, and used the Street Away App as it was easier than giving them a call and also it was a good way to see if they had any exciting offers, they did! On arrival, the restaurant was pleasantly busy, not too busy and we were seated straight away, phew, no problems using the app then. We were told that cocktails were half price tonight I smiled and nodded politely, however inside I was screaming ‘Yasssssssssss’,
As I hadn’t been to River Beat before I had a few questions about the menu, with tapas I never know how many to order as it can vary so much from place to place, I also like to know what the menu highlights are too, so I asked. The server was really knowledgeable and had a real passion for the food which is always a really positive sign, she was able to tell me what her favorites were, how many to order, and what dishes were popular and why - loved this. The server recommended that we went for three to four dishes per person so we ordered seven as a happy medium. The menu wasn’t too extensive either which is always a good sign to me, lots of choices often means a lack of quality and too little choice isn’t really that fun when you are going out for dinner, perfect balance. The menu is divided into three tapas sections; Asian, Vegan and Gourmet and then there is a choice of Far Eastern Curries.
We went for the tapas and ordered the following and shared everything, not because myself and my fellow diner are nice kind people it just meant that we got to taste everything! Although neither me or my fellow diner are vegan’s we went for a couple of vegan options, I have friends that are vegan (don’t we all - poor sods) and it would be good to know if we could come back with them to make sure that the vegan choices weren’t beige and green only. They weren’t, the Tempura Asian vegetables with the caramel soy dip and chilli jam (£5.50) tasted wonderful, tempura can often be a little greasy but not, in this case, the vegetables still had a little crunch but the batter wasn’t too thick or floury - loved these! We also ordered; Pan-fried scallops with pork belly (£11.50), east Java chicken satay (£7.50), pink salt and pepper squid (£5.00), salted beef with rice noodles (£7.25) and twice cooked Singapore pork and prawn roll (£6.00). All of the dishes came with a fresh side garnish that was as interesting as the food itself as the dressings are all perfect accents to the food (I sound like a foodie here - I am not I just know what I like). My favourite was probably the pan-fried scallops and pork belly, even in some of the nicest restaurants scallops can be over or undercooked and this leads to an epic culinary fail, they were cooked to perfection. We were too full for dessert so I sampled the most delicious rhubarb gin, I could have had ten, shocker I know.
A couple of little tips, the bill includes a discretionary service charge, this a real personal irritant of mine. I don’t like to be told how good service is, although you can, of course, remove it, it makes me less inclined to add to it because I have been directed. The service was brilliant and it wasn’t a problem, however, as a result of this, I didn’t give as large a tip as I would have because this annoyed me a little when it is only two diners. You may disagree, but that is just my view.
My other little tip is that if you are later diner like me then the kitchen closes at 9 pm, next time I would have booked a little sooner so that I had the option to order less and add to it as I experienced the first few dishes, this seemed a little early but then by the time we finished we were amongst the last few diners so this again is just my preference. River Beat would also be an amazing place in the Summer to have a few drinks on the terrace and some food, especially with the growing number of watering holes from the containers on the Gateshead Quays like the River Brew Co (love it here). I would go back to River Beat, the food was delicious, the atmosphere relaxed and not stuffy, just let me tip myself as I would reflect your fabulousness in my gratitude.
I had such a good experience with Street Away that I am working with them to visit a few more places they have to offer, there is nothing better than supporting local business, especially with what they have to offer. I am going to feature Street Away on my next post with a few things that they have on offer at the moment so stay tuned, I’ve met with Ellie from the team and it has made me super excited to see what they have to in store. In the meantime you can see what they have to offer by downloading the app ‘Street Away’ from the app store or finding them online www.streetaway.co.uk