Hinnies of Whitley Bay

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Geordie Comfort Food

Hinnies is my go to restaurant, at my favourite seaside haunt of Whitley Bay on our North East coast. The restaurant serves delicious, hearty, quality food at reasonable prices, in cosy, chic surroundings. Hinnies is right on the sea front, and in the summer time the front of the restaurant opens up to a small, rather cool, landscaped patio.
I love the decor with its exposed rough wood, metro tiles and eclectic selection of vintage kitchen implements. Everything in the restaurant is recycled, including the fittings, furniture, and even the bar. I love the coastal colours, understated and cool.

The Hinnies experience

Hinnies has been open for nearly two years now, and offers a rustic Geordie influenced British menu. Wherever possible, ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced. A typical choice of mine is often the fish of the day, maybe Hake served with something like puy lentils. The Fish Quay at North Shields is not far away, and a great source of locally caught fresh fish. Sometimes Sea bass is available and sometimes Sea bream, whatever is swimming our way at the moment will end up on the menu. Cod has recently returned as a dish at Hinnies, as North Sea stocks are now recovering after almost being fished to extinction.
The meat is from a local butchers in Wallsend, and even the potatoes are from ‘Carol up the road,’ Abbey told us.

Abbey and Rick in charge tonight

The restaurant is owned by Andy Hook, who also runs another super popular restaurant, Blackfriars, in the centre of Newcastle, together with local entrepreneur, David Townsley. Hinnies head chef is Gareth Clarke and the restaurant manager is Amy Spence.  Abbey and Rick were on duty the night we went, and they were very friendly and welcoming. Gareth used to work at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, and despite being very busy he obliged us by popping out of the kitchen to have to his picture taken

Gareth is head chef at Hinnies

Our starters were tasty, I had goat’s cheese tart and Amanda had Duck liver Pate with toasted brioche and orange and cranberry marmalade.

Duck liver pate and toasted brioche

For mains we had the veggie option (there’s always a good veggie option here too) which was a mushroom blue cheese and walnut Wellington, and I had the beer braised beef with spiced red cabbage. The beef was cooked beautifully and melt in the mouth tender, which is just the way I like it. We even had an extra side serving of pigs in blankets, as it was nearly Christmas.

Sizing up the main course

The puddings (or desserts if you’re feeling posh) were a definite highlight. The sticky toffee pudding with banana ice cream here is always excellent – it’s often the litmus test for an eatery – just how good is their sticky toffee pudding? I have to confess to have eaten an awful lot of them, but all for legitimate research purposes. However as it was the festive season, in fact the winter solstice, our shortest day, I decided to try the home made Christmas pudding, which was exceptional. Stuffed with nuts and fruit and served with brandy cream it was absolutely delicious.

Bring on the pudding!

Hinnies has a relaxed and informal atmosphere, and menus change with the season or with a special occasion – there will be a Valentine’s special for example.
Hinnie’s serves simple tasty home made food at good prices and they do an excellent set menu during week day lunch times of £12 for 2 courses / £15 for 3.   The early evening menu (served from 5-7pm) is also £15 for 2 courses/£18 for 3.  At weekends Hinnies serves brunch, lunch and dinner and in January they are launching afternoon tea again with a Geordie influence featuring home made stottie sandwiches (a Stottie is a kind of local bread cake for my overseas readers) herby scones and macaroons.

Happy at Hinnies

The word Hinny by the way is an old North Eastern term of affection. My Grandma used to call me ‘hinny’ when I was a little girl. Hinnies is worth making a trip to the seaside for and you can always work off your meal with a delightful beach walk afterwards. Top place, top food and great staff, what’s not to like?
Check out Hinnies latest menus here Hinnies
Thanks to Amanda Stocks for the photos!

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Elaine Wilson has been writing blogs on travel, events and accommodation for over six years and is a digital content expert.