It’s shocking really that when I live just five minutes away I’d never been to Hinnies, the Geordie inspired, British restaurant on Whitley Bay sea front. I don’t have any excuse, but I was invited along earlier this week to try their new summer menu.
Owned by the same guys that own both Dobson & Parnell (that I’m a big fan of), and Blackfriars, it promised to be good. Quite a few people I know locally say it’s one of their favourites too so I had high hopes. My friend Lucy and I went for dinner, and a long overdue catch up.
Parking is made a lot easier right on the sea front now the Spanish city is open, and it’s free after 6. Despite being May, anyone coastal will know there’s still a high chance of it being freezing cold and that’s exactly what it was. Walking into the warm friendly atmosphere of Hinnies was a welcome relief from it, and I was really surprised to see how busy it was for a Tuesday night – the place was full.
We were given a lovely table for two right by the window, with a view out to see, and some water for the table while we browsed the menus, and I had chance to look around properly.
I’d read on their site that almost everything inside is recycled, the furnishings, bar accessories and the decor. The aim is a coastal theme and it does have that, with a slightly more homely feel than just a shack on the beach for example. I can imagine in winter when it really is blowing a hooley outside that it’s really cosy.
We were treated to two glasses of Prosecco shortly after, and talked through the specials of the day. As soon as I heard seafood paella was one of them I knew that’s what I’d be having. They do a great deal before 7pm every day except Saturdays, which is lunchtime 2 courses for £13, 3 courses for £16, and dinner 2 courses for £16, 3 courses for £19 which is very reasonable.
For nibbles while you make your food selection there’s options like olives, anchovies, bread and butter, or flatbreads with dips. I also realised too late that for spring/summer there’s spring cocktails under that section, G&Ts and aperol spritz for example and I wish I’d seen this, as I’d definitely have tried the G&T. If anyone’s had it let me know how it was!
For starters we ordered the homemade pork pie with Branston pickle, and the black pudding scotch egg with slaw and ‘broon’ sauce.
Other options include a fair few ‘North sea’ options, such as herring, fish and seafood soup, and fishcakes, as well as a Northumberland ham terrine option too. For vegetarians, vegans, and those who go for gluten free options there’s plenty choice too, more than I usually notice on a menu, including things like vegetable boards, salads and a mushroom and wild garlic tart.
Our starters were lovely, the pickle gave a bit of something extra to the pork pie, but I knew I’d have food envy with Lucy’s scotch egg which was the winner. She polished it off but not before I got a taste to confirm I wish I’d got one too.
Like the starters there’s a well rounded selection of mains on offer, including fish options – traditional fish and chips, fish of the day, fish soup, fish and seafood pie, meat options like sirloin steak, confit duck leg, chicken, and a pretty amazing sounding burger with bacon and all the garnish. Again all vegetarian and vegan options are highlighted, and there’s a vegan dish of the week which changes.
Lucy had the fish soup which she said was really good, and I got my seafood paella which I loved. It was full of mussels, no stinginess on the seafood at all which I sometimes find is the case, and I can’t remember what the generous fillet of fish on the top was but it was delicious and I’ve not seen that anywhere before either. Keeping it separate meant the paella underneath wasn’t too fishy, so you could taste all the other flavours too.
Myself and Lucy are big seafood and fish fans, but I know some aren’t. There’s plenty alternative choices and the meals we saw coming out to nearby tables all looked really good too.
It’s clear from the menu that fresh ingredients are always used, the dish combinations have been carefully thought out, and the northern influence worked into each meal. It’s a lot more authentic and higher quality than pub food, but still has that comfort food, know what you’re getting familiarity about it. With set meal prices from £13-£19 I can see why they won the secret diners award for best value because for that meal the price is an absolute steal.
We shared a desert to finish off our meal, again a big choice on offer but we went for the sticky toffee pudding served with ice cream.
Just a note on the service the staff were lovely from start to finish, attentive and happy to recommend dishes, but weren’t intrusive and didn’t rush us through despite how busy they were. We were the last to leave which meant I could take some pics without disturbing anyone’s meal!
I really enjoyed our whole experience, and it just confirmed that I should have been a lot sooner. I’d like to visit for brunch one weekend, as I’m always complaining there’s limited choice at the coast, and for Sunday dinner. When it’s 5 minutes from where I live, and now I know how nice the food is I have no excuse.
So see you again soon Hinnies!
Disclaimer: We were invited to review Hinnies spring menu so our meal was complimentary, but as always all opinions are my own.