So, when I was invited along to sample the offerings at Catch Seafood Ponteland, for a free night out with the hubby, as it marked six months in the North East, I jumped at the chance.
Catch Seafood Ponteland describes itself as a forward-thinking seafood restaurant built on family values and a genuine love of all things fish.
Building on the success of the Catch restaurants in West Yorkshire and following a complete refurbishment of the old Wagon Inn Pub, Catch Seafood Ponteland officially opened its doors in the summer of 2017 with one clear goal, to bring its passion for fish and much-loved seafood dishes to new customers in the North East.
And it has certainly done that.
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From superb customer service to sensational food, Catch ticks every single box.
Mr M and I don’t often get the chance for a nice meal away from the kids and, thanks to brilliant in-laws, we were even taxied there and back, which meant we also got to sample the offerings of the bar.
As big fans of fish and seafood, we were in heaven when we saw the menu.
While the main menu stays fairly similar, there is a daily specials menu as well.
I decided to try out a gin cocktail while I perused the menus – there was so much choice.
After a pint of well-kept Rivet Catcher from Jarrow Brewery, Mr M decided that oysters were the way forward for him to start with. And while sipping my rhubarb and custard cocktail (which really did taste like the sweets!), I opted for the baked queenie scallops.
For main course I had to try the Catch signature seafood grill while Mr M opted for the seafood thermidor.
There was a steady flow of diners coming in to the restaurant which, for a Saturday night, was to be expected.
As we waited for our starters I noticed that there was great attention to detail for customers. Every couple or group that came in was met by a friendly and welcoming member of staff – something that just made you feel at ease straight away.
When the starters arrived, we were not disappointed.
The oysters were so fresh and presented beautifully on a dish almost the size of the table. They were served on ice with lemon, Tabasco and a diced shallot and raspberry vinegar. I had to have a try, for review purposes only of course, and they were delicious. The acidic vinegar and lemon cut through the salty-freshness of the shellfish, simply stunning.
My starter looked small in comparison but it was perfect. The queenie scallops were baked in a Gruyère and wholegrain mustard sauce which complemented them perfectly.
As the plates were taken away, I was getting very excited about the main courses. And when they arrived, I was even happier.
My seafood grill was enormous. It contained a piece of salmon, swordfish and cod with calamari, breaded prawns and crevettes, as well as beef dripping chips, a salad garnish and a thermidor sauce.
The fish was cooked to perfection. I had never previously been asked how I wanted my swordfish cooked so went with the waitress’s recommendation of pink and it was beautiful. The salmon was soft and flaky and the cod meaty and flavoursome. The crevettes were plump and meaty and the prawns and calamari also fantastic.
I did have to get Mr M to help me though, much to his delight.
The seafood thermidor went down swimmingly. It was a delicious mix of fish and seafood in a thermidor sauce with homemade bread.
After a quick look at the dessert menu, I went for the white chocolate and passion fruit cheesecake, while cheese and biscuits were chosen opposite me.
Both were again sublime. The cheesecake was creamy and fruity and had a decent crunchy base while the selection of cheese was just right.
Catch, in a few words, is simply stunning and not to be missed.
NOT JUST A RESTAURANT
Catch is not just a seafood restaurant.
The venue recently added in the option for diners to stay overnight.
The restaurant now boasts five king-size bedrooms, all with modern en-suite bathrooms and furnished to a very high standard. The contemporary décor compliments the original features, lending each room a comfortable feel to ensure a restful stay.
It runs special offers and midweek breaks, as well as offers with meals included.
SELECTION FROM THE MENU
Hot & cold seafood platter for two......£22
Fish and shellfish soup......£8
Catch’s signature seafood grill......£27
Catch fish pie......£15.50
Thai red vegetable curry......£13.25
Today’s catch standard/king......£10.50/£12.50
Simply fish (choose fish, garnish and sauce)......at market price
Roast salmon Caesar salad......£14.75
Sticky toffee pudding......£6
Cheese and biscuits 3/5......£6/£9
STAR RATINGS (out of 10)
Quality of food......9
Use of local food......9
Value for money......8
Access for disabled......7
Toilet for disabled......Yes
Verdict: Fantastic food and beautiful venue with superb service.
Contact: 01661 881440 or www.catchseafood.co.uk