A legendary England footballer officially opened a quirky new quayside eatery in Amble.
Earlier this month, Jack Charlton cut the ribbon to The Fish Shack at the Sea Quest, which is a wooden building partly made from an upturned training boat.
The restaurant is owned by renowned local chef Martin Charlton – no relation – who also runs The Old Boat House restaurant, where Jack and his wife Pat often eat.
The wooden fish shack is the handiwork of local joiner and lobster fisherman Davey Buddle. He and Martin are very pleased with the finished result.
Martin said: “I’m over the moon with how it’s turned out. We’ve had great support from Warkworth Harbour Commissioners and it will enhance the offer on the quayside.
“The shack is for walkers, dog walkers, surfers, kids playing nearby and, of course, for people who love serious fish and shellfish.
“It is a bit of a stripped back version of The Old Boat House. It will be street food using fish and we’ll also be selling nice baked goods from the bakery at Pride of Northumbria on Amble’s Queen Street.”
Davey was particularly pleased with the use of the old training boat, Sea Quest, which was used by Amble schoolchildren to learn seamanship skills for many years.
He said: “It was going to get smashed up, so by us using it, at least it’s still here.
“The whole thing’s taken about 18 months to finish, we had a few technical issues, but we knew what we wanted from the start and we’ve achieved it.”
It was very fitting that Jack, who already supports many Northumberland-based products, agreed to open the fish shack.
“He used to come out with the salmon boats from Amble many moons ago,” said Davey.
Jack, who won 35 caps for his country and managed Republic of Ireland at the 1994 World Cup in the USA, is a keen fisherman. During the official opening, he chatted with the public and posed for photos before he and his wife sampled one of the homemade scones.
As was probably to be expected with a keen fisherman and a seafood chef, the conversation moved towards fish; Jack describing one particularly big flattie he had caught in Australia. Martin promised he would enjoy one of Amble’s selection of locally-caught flat fish, which he was preparing for lunch at The Old Boat House.
The Fish Shack will serve locally-produced products and will compliment The Old Boat House. It is hoped that the development, which has brought additional employment to Amble, will increase visitors to the town and enhance the attraction that the harbour and pier already brings. A Facebook page is set to go live this week.
l The Old Boat House is in the running to win the Coast Fish Restaurant of the Year category in the Fishing News Awards. It is one of just two from the North East to be shortlisted, with Longlands Fish Kitchen, in Tynemouth, the other. A public vote closed on Tuesday.