Review of Colmans Seafood Temple in South Shields
For a coastal region, the area, chippies aside, is surprisingly short on seafood restaurants.
However, the landmark Colmans Seafood Temple does a sterling job of worshipping the North Sea’s larder.
With its Grecian-style columns and panoramic windows, it’s a stunning building, created from the old Gandhi’s Temple, and one that exemplifies how new life can be given to old structures whilst still honouring the integrity of the site.
More of an occasion restaurant than the Ocean Road Colmans, inside the temple, with its uninterrupted sea views and slick, clean design it feels special, but not stuffily so.
We’d booked ahead for a Wednesday evening, and fortunately so, with every table taken, giving it a bustling atmosphere with a mix of large family groups and courting couples.
As you’d expect from this South Shields household name, classic fish and chips feature on the menu but there’s also a good choice of more adventurous dishes to try out such as oysters, served three ways; mussels, hake, seabass and lobster fresh from the quay.
To start, I chose the smoked salmon and dill pâté with cucumber jelly and toasted sourdough (£7.50). You get plenty for the price with a good-sized pot of pâté that packs a real flavour punch. It was deliciously moreish with the light and fresh cucumber jelly perfectly complementing the denser richness of the salmon.
For mains, I had the smoked haddock with crispy hen’s egg, asparagus and spiced potted shrimp butter (£16.95).
Again, they certainly didn’t skimp on the portion and I was presented with a huge slab of perfectly flaky fish. The mild nuance of the fish was lifted with the heavier buttery sauce – and there was plenty of it. The runny egg, in a crisp batter, also added an extra depth of flavour and texture.
My friend really enjoyed her cod and chips too, a reliably good choice from a family who’ve been frying fish for generations.
I was also impressed with the drinks list, which is really extensive, with a good choice of wine by the glass, as well as bottles ranging from a crisp Riesling to Veuve Clicquot bubbles if you’re feeling fancy.
Spirits are also free flowing, with no less than 35 types of gin on offer as well as some unusual cognac and brandy choices you won’t find in many other places.
There was a lot of covers the night we visited, but service was swift, friendly and chatty.
Prices aren’t cheap as chips, but quality seafood isn’t, and it’s certainly not over priced for the standard and setting you get for your pounds.
Refreshingly, Colmans are also transparent about how their seafood is caught with sustainability at the heart of the business.
All its cod and haddock comes from sustainable fishing grounds and its uses sustainable and traceable seafood in its dishes, while also cutting down on single use plastic.
It’s a commitment to ensuring the future of the oceans that recently saw the family-owned business named a regional hero by the Marine Stewardship Council.
For fish and chips with standards, they don’t come much ‘batter’ than Colmans.