Have you heard of River Beat, the Thai Tapas restaurant in Gateshead right by the swing bridge? We went along this weekend for a meal and were all delighted by the food, the service and the stunning view.
At the end of an exciting and busy week, we were keen to celebrate (and avoid cooking!), so took the opportunity to use a voucher I’d been given at the recent Inspire Network Gateshead meeting. We booked a table for the four of us, straight from work on Friday. Parking at Trinity Square and meandering down, we were able to unwind a little and truly appreciate the beauty of the Newcastle Gateshead quayside on the 5 minute walk.
We were warmly welcomed by the super-friendly and hospitable Andrea and brought to our seat by the window. To be honest, I’d pay just to be able to sit there, never mind the food! The view over the river is stunning and full of interest. It really is very special. The children were delighted to have an explore of the riverside seating area outside, and spotted what they thought might be a pigeon prison under one of the nearby bridge arches! They asked lots of questions about the buildings before us, which sparked lots of stories and history lessons.
The décor inside is beautiful, too. It is modern but with a hint of vintage and quirkiness; cool and calm and relaxing. There are lots of interesting features with a lot of attention to detail and style. Upstairs we found a perfect room for private parties and work dos, with a bar, cosy cubby and more stunning views. They also have the smartest ladies room (or toilet, as I usually call it!) I’ve visited in a long while.
Andrea was really helpful when it came to ordering. She was happy to take the time to explain the dishes and listen to the children as they excitedly shared their news. Having spotted dippy eggs and chips (£3) on the menu earlier, both were very excited to order Granma’s favourite. I really like that the kids’ menu has more attention to detail than you find in a lot of places, but still stuff you’re confident your little ones will like. They were also keen to try a lot of the dishes that we chose for ourselves, so next time I’ll be more confident in choosing them things from the main menu, too.
Richard and I ordered 6 tapas between us. The Early Bird special was on, so it cost £10 for 3. The crispy rendang spiced chicken wings with butternut squash puree and crème fraîche were tender and tasty. The spice was pretty mild, so they were popular with everyone. The twice cooked red braised belly pork with hoisin sauce and spring onions was a huge hit with everyone. There was a perfect balance of tender meat and chew and crunch in the fat. Amazing! The batter of the Tempura king prawns was light and delicious. The children didn’t fancy the look of the chiang rai rice balls with mango and lime leave syrup, which I was pretty pleased about! The flavours were fresh and light, even though it was pretty substantial and filling for a tapa. I made a valiant effort to finish the sweet potato tapas bravas with sriracha mayo, as they were really good. With a nod to traditional Spanish patatas bravas, these were a definite upgrade, with a delicate chewy crunch and soft inside to the tasty sweet potato cubes.
As we left, the staff were gracious and charming. They made the children feel very special- that, plus the dippy egg, resulted in Master Mini-Apprentice’s verdict that River Beat is “the best restaurant in the world!” (There you go, Andrea- it’s official! You can out it on your marketing material!)
This little gem was quieter than it deserves to be on a Friday night, which is one of the reasons I decided to write this blog. Unlike big chain restaurants, with masses of money for marketing, recognisable brands, famous products or dishes and prime locations, independent businesses don’t have it at all easy! Since recently becoming an independent, family business ourselves recently, we are particularly keen to support hardworking businesses with great products, where the money we spend stays locally, rather than lining the pockets of a corporate fat cat lounging in a private yacht while local staff struggle on a minimum wage.
Recently I have seen a lot of calls for help from small hospitality businesses in the North East. In fact, one of River Beat’s neighbours, Prohibition Bar, was astounded and overwhelmed by the support and encouragement that he received after one such call to action went viral last month. As we approach the busy autumn and winter period, I urge you to consider supporting local- when you nip out for coffee, catch up with friends, arrange a work meting or put on a staff night out. If you think that River Beat sounds awesome, give them a try! Book a table online now. If you’d like to invite your friendly local insurance broker, we’d love to hear from you, ha ha!
Talbot Jones Risk Solutions is a Gateshead-based insurance brokerage, committed to supporting other businesses in the North East of England. Get in touch if you value a free insurance quotation, advice or review.