Pardon the hideously predictable pun in the title of this post. Much like most readers of this post, St Nick and I stumbled onto River Beat quite by accident. This was a happy accident, of course. We had a few plates each and left feeling pleasantly full but not overwhelmed to the point of falling into the Tyne.
Our first Tapas were the oysters. Fun fact: St Nick mistook the salt positioning the oysters on the slate, as salt! Had the waiter not been extremely efficient I would have had to suffer his wheezing cough for the rest of the evening. Now, I did not partake in this abomination of a dish (I deplore fish) but St Nick grunted approvingly and didn’t sneeze so it must have been delightful.
Sticking with the seafood theme, our next dish was blurred prawn. Now I did have some of this dish as well as the smoked nuoc cham dip which went with it. The prawns were sizeable and suitably crunchy and the dip added a delightful layer of hazy sweetness to it.
The sweet potato bravas with sriracha mayonnaise were superlative. The red chilli and garlic sauce went beautifully with the sweetness of the potatoes. This was a filling tapas most welcome on our table. The ordinary potato chips were also delectable. Hand cut, chunky and just the right texture.
The East Java chicken Satay was a favourite of mine. Topped with crunchy roast garlic, sweet & sour salad and peanut sauce, it combined some varied flavours to make a wonderful amalgam. Though I will say I found the chicken a little overcooked.
The showstopper for me was the red braised pork belly with hoisin sauce. The crunchy outer layer of fat contrasted with the less seared middle layer of fat followed by the delicious soft meat at the bottom was a sensation. The hoisin sauce, comprised of soya beans, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and various spices, made my night.
Overall, this restaurant was relatively economical, well situated on the river front and generous with its portions. I do recommend it to you if you are ‘in the North’.