Review: Nova, High Bridge, Newcastle
Just off the hullabaloo of Grey Street with its often soulless chain bars and restaurants there's a string of independent businesses that offer something a little different from the norm.
Much investment has been ploughed into the historic cobbles of High Bridge to create a vibrant mix of businesses, selling everything from quality coffee to vinyls and vintage threads.
One of the latest to join the renaissance of this side street is Nova Seafood, a small (there’s only 26 covers), but well-formed independent restaurant.
As you’d expect from this string of businesses, it’s one that’s been stylishly fitted out with Scandinavian-esque simplicity, with only a clamshell shaped light art on the wall hinting at its trade.
Despite this being a city not too far from the sea, there’s not a huge amount of restaurants who focus on coastal cuisine and it certainly feels like Nova is bridging the gap in the market for those who want high-end seafood.
The menu’s dictated by that day’s haul from the local North Sea day boats and there’s plenty of credit given to local suppliers in its pages.
Seafood is always at the pricier end of the market, but we visited during Nova’s pre-theatre Market Menu, which runs from Tuesday to Friday 5pm to 6.30pm, where you can pick up two courses for £16 or three for £21. There’s also an oyster happy hour, where you can pick up these silky delicacies for a quid from 3pm to 5pm,Tuesday to Saturday and from noon until 4pm on Sundays.
As we visited off peak we managed to get one of the cosy window seats where you can watch the comings and goings of this quirky street.
I started with the one of the small plates, four Lindisfarne oysters with yuzu hollandaise gratin.
They were beautifully presented on the kind of crockery you usually get in restaurants with a much higher price point. Complimentary appetisers were served on a smooth blue wave-shaped glass dish, while the oysters were served on a crisp white block.
The locally-harvested oysters were given a twist with the creamy hollandaise, which had a hint of sweetness thanks to the citrus of the yuzu.
The creative crockery continued with my mains of brown crab risotto with sea vegetables and Cafe de Paris sauce, which was served in a chunky asymmetric bowl which looked like it had been shaped by the sea itself.
The risotto was a rich take on seafood, thanks to the lustrous buttery sauce and was a huge portion for the price, which I struggled to finish.
For those who aren’t hooked by fish, there’s also meat and vegetarian options on the main menu, where prices start from £8.50 for a small plate.
The meal was enhanced by varied background music in this intimate setting, as well as informal, but knowledgeable, staff who are great at helping you navigate the menu, particularly if you’re a seafood novice like my friend.