Walking into Spanish City in Whitley Bay is like stepping back in time. The building has been brought back to it’s former glory and it’s not hard to imagine the former concert hall and ballroom as it was in the twenties. A brass band was playing in the main space when we visited and the place was buzzing with visitors.
Housing a tearoom, fish and chips, pancakes and waffles, a micropub and fine dining restaurant – quite an undertaking! It opened last summer after a £10 million transformation and is managed by Kymel Trading, who own the famous Trenchers in Whitby and the Crab & Lobster restaurant and Crab Manor Hotel in North Yorskhire. These guys clearly know a thing or two about seafood.
When you walk through the bar and into 1910, the first thing that hits you is the vista. Floor to ceiling windows show off the Whitley Bay seafront exquisitely.
We were shown to our table and offered water as soon as we sat down. The menu on Sunday offers Sunday Lunch but also some fantastic options for those who don’t fancy a roast. Our knowledgable waiter informed us that the chefs are always changing and tweaking the menu to gauge what their clientele want.
We brought our two small children to this very fancy restaurant and the staff were great and very accommodating – they even brought a colouring in box from the fish & chip restaurant. It did feel a tiny bit awkward when a customer asked us to “get our child” when our newly walking 11 month old toddled in their general direction, but apart from that things were fine. I guess not everyone likes kids, but Sunday lunch is family time for us so we didn’t think there was anything wrong with bringing our children.
The bread basket soon arrived and was a great sign of things to come. Rosemary and sea-salt, Black pudding and granary rolls arrived and were still warm having been freshly baked in house. They came with butter and whipped lard – ask your waiter about the whipped lard and he will go into precise detail about how they make it! We were so impressed by the staff’s knowledge, it was like talking to someone in the kitchen.
I chose the cheese soufflé starter (twice baked Colliers mature cheddar cheese and spinach soufflé, pear & walnut salad), the Mr went for cheek & jowl pressing (Northumberland middle white pork pressing, crispy black pudding croquette and tarragon).
The soufflé was incredible – light and fluffy with a crisp cheese layer on top. A very knowledgable member of staff got it spot on when she said that the blue cheese, pear and walnut salad really compliments and cuts through the double baked soufflé. There’s no such thing as too much cheese! It was very close to perfection.
The Mr was pleased that his starter had plenty of texture and was not overly salty despite it being full of meat. The black pudding croquette was crispy and flavoursome and the apple purée it came with was the perfect accompaniment. Nice presentation too!
The children’s meal had a starter of crudités and humous, a particular favourite of Little Dude. He shared with his little sister, and both of them also devoured some bread.
The boys went for a wander round the building while me and Little Miss stayed in the restaurant and I enjoyed a nice glass of prosecco.
Time for the main courses – I’d gone for North Shields Cod, French Morteau sausage with celeriac and cider sauce.
The cod was probably the most beautifully cooked white fish I have ever tasted. I don’t know if a sous vide was involved but the flesh was so exquisitely juicy and the skin had been nicely finished off in the pan. The sauce, complete with cubes of celereic and sausage was delicious and it all sat on a bed of cabbage. Absolutely delicious. The only thing I would change is to add more mussels as they were succulent and I’d rather more of them than the sausage. But I’m nit-picking here!
Mr TLC couldn’t resist a roast and he went for Confit Yorkshire Texel Hogget, although he had to Google it to check what it was… turns out it’s sheep! The chefs are clearly focused on nose to tail dining and using unusual cuts which is great to see. He found the meat very tender and succulent and an interesting alternative to the usual sunday dinner meats.
The vegetables that accompanied the meal were a triump! Plenty of them to go round too.
This was the kids meal! LD went for pork. He shared with his sister again, the portions are huge so there was plenty.
He’d filled up on starters so didn’t eat loads, but the Yorkshire pudding was a hit. Mr TLC enjoyed his lunch so much he had a bit of LD’s meat too, which was even more delicious. He said it was quite possibly the best Sunday dinner he’d ever had in a restaurant, which is really saying something especially when we had an incredible experience in Vallum Farm’s tipi just before Christmas.
He was too full for dessert, but I never have that problem. I went for the apple and frangipane tart, after much deliberation. I even asked the waiter and then totally ignored his recommendation because I can’t resist an almond tart! It didn’t disappoint. Beautifully presented with a satisfying apple crisp slice on top, delicious pastry, almond cream and apple flavours complimented eachother perfectly and went very well with an expertly made flat white. LD thoroughly enjoyed his ice-cream (funnily enough he suddenly had some room for dessert!) so much so that there wasn’t a chance to take a picture.
A three course lunch will set you back £28, or £9.95 for a child. For the standard of food being served up at 1910 this is excellent value. We can’t wait to come back and check out their evening menu which is full of, you guessed it, steak and seafood! I can’t think of a better location to enjoy it.
We were provided with a complimentary meal for the purposes of this review, however as always the opinions expressed in this article are honest and true to experience.