March 27, 2019 @ 10:30 by Richard Dawson
Formerly Bruno’s Italian Restaurant, the new bistro, which boasts stunning views over Cullercoats Bay and Tynemouth Priory, has opened following an extensive three-month refurbishment under the direction of husband and wife team Nathan and Jo Bulch.
Having spent the past 25 years working at Bruno’s, Jo was perfectly placed to take over the reins of the flagship family business, when she and Nathan were looking for a new joint project.
Jo has managed Bruno’s along with neighbouring eateries Mamma Rosa’s and The Salt House since her parents took them over in 2002 and 2009 respectively.
But the time had come to start realising her own ambitions, re-opening the restaurant with a new name, a fresh menu and a boatload of creative ambition.
Serving up a series of seasonal menus throughout the year, High Tide’s small and large plate options feature the best of locally-sourced ingredients including fish from Collingwoods Seafoods, meat from Warren Butterworths and fruit and vegetables from Hillheads Farm Shop in Killingworth.
The stylish bistro opened in mid-January 2019, and is already enjoying a big wave of positive reviews and word-of-mouth success.
“It’s been really wonderful – we couldn’t have wished for a better response,” says Jo.
“Having worked here for such a long time, we felt confident Cullercoats was ready for a new dining experience. We’ve wanted to do it for years!”
For Nathan, a former postmaster and lifelong surfer, High Tide marks the start of a new and exciting chapter.
He says: “Jo and I wanted to create something that reflects our location and somewhere that we would like to go to either with the kids, as a couple or with friends and family: and I think we have done that.”
Popular dishes from the launch menu include warmed goats cheese with olives and dukkah; king prawn dumplings with a spiced dipping sauce; black pudding with scotch egg and homemade piccalilli; slow cooked pork belly with dauphinoise potatoes; seabass fillets with pak choi, udon noodles, chilli and ginger; and hake with brown shrimp, fondant potato, capers and gravy.
Meanwhile the new menu for spring features dishes such as gin-cured salmon with beets, pickles and creme fraiche; miso-marinated Portabello mushrooms with wild garlic; king scallops with seaweed and pea risotto; skrei cod with pancetta, broad beans and wild garlic veloute; spring green frittata (vegan); and a rack of lamb with fresh mint, spring greens and red currant jus.
When it comes to the food offer at High Tide, Jo and Nathan have been happy to give their hand-picked kitchen team the freedom to be as creative as they like.
Between them, the quartet of chefs (two of whom started their career at Bruno’s when they were just 18) bring a wealth of expertise, experience and – perhaps most importantly – huge enthusiasm.
“They’re all passionate, sensible and know their stuff – it’s the perfect combination!” says Jo.
The result is a menu which pays homage to the restaurant’s enviable position on the North Sea coast while also serving up plenty to satisfy those with vegetarian, vegan or meat-eating leanings.
High Tide currently seats up to 50 covers, but Jo and Nathan already have ambitions to convert the first floor of the building to a relaxed casual area for drinks, where customers can enjoy the unrivalled views across the beautiful North Tyneside coast.
Meanwhile, although the restaurant is currently only opening in the evenings and Sunday lunchtimes, there are also plans to introduce some weekday and Saturday lunchtimes into the mix.
Jo says: “It really feels like the right time to be doing this and it’s surreal to see all the plans we’ve talked about coming to fruition.”