REVIEW: The Boat-Club Bar and Eatery, Elvet Riverside, Durham City

The Boat Club in Durham City (formely The Boathouse)
The Boat Club in Durham City (formely The Boathouse)
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TAKE one of the best riverside views in Durham, blend it with a slick speakeasy vibe, sprinkle liberally with live jazz, and you have the recipe for a Thursday night with a difference.

Perched on the edge of the River Wear, a stone’s throw from the imposing Elvet Bridge, this landmark 500-year-old building has undergone many guises in recent years.

Some of The Boat-Club's sushi dishes

Some of The Boat-Club's sushi dishes

There were the sticky floors and alcopops of Chase, then it stepped up a notch with The Boathouse. Now, opened as The Boat-Club, this may be its smartest reinvention yet.

A revamp has given it more of a New York loft apartment vibe, all industrial light fittings, feature floral wallpaper and exposed brickwork, while pictures of yesteryear hark back to the site’s boating heritage.

The cracking views of the river, enhanced by an outdoor terrace, thankfully remain the same.

This stylish new chapter is thanks to owner Howard Eggleston, of Lotus Lounge in Yarm, and its recently closed sister venue in Durham’s Saddler Street.

It was a shame to see the latter restaurant go, but a flavour of its Thai menu lives on in Boat-Club.

Head down on Thursday night for its Sushi, Swing & Cocktails night, which runs each week from 7pm to 9.30pm, and you can enjoy a sushi and pan Asian selection of dishes.

The menu is made for sharing and offers a taste of the Orient, such as spicy Thai green chicken curry, pork and ginger gyoza (Japanese dumplings), sashimi and sushi.

There’s also dishes influenced by elsewhere in Asia, such as lamb keema with prawn balti curry and chicken tandoori skewer.

Though I’m not usually a massive fan of Thai green curry (my curry-loving friend had ordered it) it was a sublime dish – smooth and laden with delicate flavours. This version won me over.

Tender chicken skewers with a punchy Asian coleslaw and moreish peanut sauce in which to dunk the meat was another highlight.

Sashimi isn’t a dish often available in the North East, but these finely sliced slivers of raw tuna and salmon were sublimely fresh as can be.

Considering the size of the portions, prices are certainly reasonable at £3.50 per dish or three dishes for a tenner.

But it isn’t just your tastebuds which are tickled here.

Durham University Jazz Society offer a feast for the ears by playing during main service hours.

It’s a great quirky addition and makes you feel like you’re dining in a swanky downtown Manhattan joint, rather than Durham.

The cocktail menu also offers a kaleidoscope of flavours with twists on classic drinks, such as the mojito.

Food is served daily at the venue, but there are other new speciality nights including Meats, Beats & Beers every Monday from 5pm-8pm, as well as a new Sunday menu which is also in the pipeline.

There’s no messing about on the river here, the Boat-Club’s new nights have success on the horizon.