Oh yes. Tapas. Asian food. Could there be a better combination?
It’s 15 years since I visited Thailand, a country that’s stunning, eclectic, busy, quiet, frantic (Bangkok literally overwhelmed my senses) and relaxing at the same time. The food is no different, spicy, sweet, mild, hot and always tasty.
Food and importantly sharing it with family and friends, is at the heart of Thai culture and River Beat owner, Andy Drape set out to capture that essence of sharing great food with great company at his restaurant situated right on the south bank of the River Tyne.
Suzanne and I decided (on a random whim, as you do) to pop into River Beat for a Saturday lunchtime treat. As soon as we walked in, the great atmosphere hit us. It wasn’t busy but the calming blue decor and the view of river relaxed us in an instant.
Tapas (the Spanish variety) is one of my favourite foods; it such a good idea to be able to try lots of different types of dishes rather than be confined to one, although Suzanne isn’t often one for sharing.
But neither of us had ever had tapas influenced by Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai & Vietnamese cuisines. We were in for a real treat, the menu caters for literally every taste and we love the ethos:
“Salty, spicy, sour & sweet, enjoy them together, your dining experience can be as relaxed as you like”, have what you want, when you want it”.
Our absolute favourite dishes were the Cambodian yellow curry with cauliflower pakora which you can see at the top of this blog post. The quick seared scallop and pork belly (top) and the fig and blue cheese filo tartlet with dukkah crumble (bottom), in the image below. This food is seriously well cooked. Really, really lovely. Andy (owner and chef) demonstrates his passion for this area of our world with great skill. The portion sizes were spot on, if you have a couple of dishes you’ll be satiated but not stuffed. And the presentation was really pretty too.
We contemplated a sweet. We weren’t hungry. We’d eaten enough. But. Lemon posset with a raspberry meringue won us over and was worth it. Tangy, tangy lemon cleansed our pallets and was the perfect end to the meal, the meringue had an unusual consistency which we couldn’t quite put our finger on but was yummy.
There’s something about water that just makes me relax, wind down and switch off. As we sat sipping coffees, we chatted about coming back to the restaurant in the late spring, and summer when the sunshine will be beating down on the outside terrace (we hope).
This restaurant may be a little off the beaten track, but it only takes a minute to park up at the Swing Bridge and walk across, or along from the car park under the Tyne Bridge on the Gateshead side.
And it’s well worth it. Suzanne and I could have sat looking out at the river until we were hungry enough for round two.
Check out their full menu and simply enjoy x