The Jolly Fisherman in the idyllic Northumberland village of Craster – famed for its smoking houses – has a rich history dating back to 1847. In recent years, the cosy pub has built a solid reputation for its quality seafood under David Whitehead’s guidance. Now, the restauranteur, in partnership with Star Pubs and Bars, has brought the brand to Newcastle’s Quayside.
Set in a prime location overlooking the river and NewcastleGateshead’s iconic bridges, The Jolly Fisherman on the Quay has transformed the former Waterline pub, thanks to a £700,000 refurbishment. The result is an elegant yet informal eatery with rustic wood, tweed soft furnishings and quirky (not tacky) nautical touches on show across the two floors.
During the day, The Jolly Fisherman offers a lunch menu that includes its famous crab sandwich (£7.95), fresh shellfish soup (£8.95) and choice of French or Thai-inspired mussels (£10.95). An à la carte menu is also available, offering more refined seafood dishes (demanding a higher price).
I picked from the latter menu, choosing the homemade soup of the day (cream of cauliflower) which was packed full of flavour, followed by the well-cooked roasted sole with seaweed butter and a good amount of brown shrimp, served with buttered new potatoes.
My dining partners skipped starters in favour of dessert. For mains, one greatly enjoyed the seafood platter, comprising classic smoked salmon, beetroot cured salmon, herring roll mop, smoked mackerel pâté, prawn marie rose and bloomer bread (all for the very reasonable £10.95), while the other’s North Shields landed deep fried haddock, part of the classic fish and chips, was a little overcooked, making what promised to be a light and crisp batter pretty hard going.
The desserts, however, hit the mark again with a velvety smooth crème brûlée and the inventive pineapple dessert (featuring roasted and pickled pineapple, as well as a super sweet pineapple brittle), soon polished off.
While there’s no denying that The Jolly Fisherman on the Quay has much more competition compared to The Jolly Fisherman at Craster, I hope it succeeds in attracting a dedicated following. The former Waterline site deserves a new lease of life.
Cream of cauliflower soup (à la carte menu) £4.95
Roasted sole with seaweed butter, brown shrimp and samphire (à la carte menu) £21
North Shields landed haddock fish with hand cut chips and homemade tarter sauce (lunch menu) £11.95
Jolly’s seafood platter (lunch menu) £10.95
Crème brûlée £5.95
Roasted pineapple £5.95