REVIEW: Downey’s, North Terrace, Seaham

Downey's Restaurant and Takeaway

Downey's Restaurant and Takeaway

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Well that was the best scampi I’ve ever eaten,” I said as I polished off the last fishy morsel on my plate.

I’ve never heard of langoustine scampi before, let alone seen it on a menu in Wearside.

But Downey’s traditional fish and chip restaurant and takeaway, in Seaham, is plating up a shoal of different dishes.

Based on a Whitby-style fish and chip restaurant, the premises aren’t flash, but a perfect example of how keeping things simple and doing them well draws in trade.

Its simple wooden furniture – a basic ethos to furnishing echoed in the clean white walls – was never empty during our trip on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

And a stream of more customers kept flowing through the door to buy takeaway meals.

Settled at a table in one of the two dining rooms, we took a pick of food from two menus, one standard, one special. I chose the special scampi, comprised of 10 langoustine in homemade batter, served with chips and tartar sauce.

I added a slice of white bread and butter and a portion of mushy peas, just to go the whole traditional hog.

This was a mother/daughter trip out and my mam, who descends from a line of fish and chip-lovers, chose the cod meal.

We also ordered a pot of tea each (£1.30).

Despite the queue of people waiting for their takeaways, and busy seating areas, there was only just time to pour the first cuppa when the meals were delivered. Both plates were piled high with the freshly-cooked fishy offerings and both received exclamations of “you’ll never finish all that.”

For the price of £8.99 I enjoyed succulent langoustine encased in a dry, air-light, crispy batter and a mound of tasty chips.

Deep-fried food makes me feel sick sometimes when it’s dripping in oil – it’s too rich and spoils the food – but I couldn’t find one drop of grease on my plate.

I chomped my way through all 10 pieces of special scampi with tasty tartar sauce and mushy peas with lashings of vinegar, before attempting a chip butty. The generous portion, however, defeated me at the last hurdle.

Mam’s cod went down just as well and we were both impressed with the thick, white piece of fish wrapped in bubbly light batter.

The meal costs £6.49 from the standard menu and comes with chips, bread and butter and a choice of peas, beans, curry or gravy. Deceptive from the outside, with a sign as simple as the interior, this eatery, which was nominated for a Sunderland Echo Excellence Award for Best Takeaway earlier this month, isn’t the type of place where I would usually choose to eat.

But, as testament to the fact that keeping it simple works, I was impressed and even picked up a takeaway for my nan and granddad on the way out.

Residents of Roker will soon be able to enjoy meals from Downey’s too, as a second restaurant is opening on the seafront in April as part of the area’s ongoing development.

Monica Turnbull

I’ve never heard of langoustine scampi before, let alone seen it on a menu in Wearside.

But Downey’s traditional fish and chip restaurant and takeaway, in Seaham, is plating up a shoal of different dishes.

Based on a Whitby-style fish and chip restaurant, the premises aren’t flash, but a perfect example of how keeping things simple and doing them well draws in trade.

Its simple wooden furniture – a basic ethos to furnishing echoed in the clean white walls – was never empty during our trip on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

And a stream of more customers kept flowing through the door to buy takeaway meals.

Settled at a table in one of the two dining rooms, we took a pick of food from two menus, one standard, one special. I chose the special scampi, comprised of 10 langoustine in homemade batter, served with chips and tartar sauce.

I added a slice of white bread and butter and a portion of mushy peas, just to go the whole traditional hog.

This was a mother/daughter trip out and my mam, who descends from a line of fish and chip-lovers, chose the cod meal.

We also ordered a pot of tea each (£1.30).

Despite the queue of people waiting for their takeaways, and busy seating areas, there was only just time to pour the first cuppa when the meals were delivered. Both plates were piled high with the freshly-cooked fishy offerings and both received exclamations of “you’ll never finish all that.”

For the price of £8.99 I enjoyed succulent langoustine encased in a dry, air-light, crispy batter and a mound of tasty chips.

Deep-fried food makes me feel sick sometimes when it’s dripping in oil – it’s too rich and spoils the food – but I couldn’t find one drop of grease on my plate.

I chomped my way through all 10 pieces of special scampi with tasty tartar sauce and mushy peas with lashings of vinegar, before attempting a chip butty. The generous portion, however, defeated me at the last hurdle.

Mam’s cod went down just as well and we were both impressed with the thick, white piece of fish wrapped in bubbly light batter.

The meal costs £6.49 from the standard menu and comes with chips, bread and butter and a choice of peas, beans, curry or gravy. Deceptive from the outside, with a sign as simple as the interior, this eatery, which was nominated for a Sunderland Echo Excellence Award for Best Takeaway earlier this month, isn’t the type of place where I would usually choose to eat.

But, as testament to the fact that keeping it simple works, I was impressed and even picked up a takeaway for my nan and granddad on the way out.

Residents of Roker will soon be able to enjoy meals from Downey’s too, as a second restaurant is opening on the seafront in April as part of the area’s ongoing development.

Monica Turnbull