This week we were kindly invited for a free meal at Latimers Seafood Deli and Cafe in Whitburn. The eatery is located on the stunning North East coastline, nestled between South Shields and Sunderland, in Whitburn.
Being a Sand Dancer, Latimers is a short drive along the coast and somewhere I’ve been meaning to get to for the last year (It’s pure laziness that I haven’t).
Anyone from the North East will know that we’ve got some of the best coastlines in the country and those who fish the waters like me know that dishes don’t come better than freshly caught local seafood.
So when I found out that Latimers have 13 fishing boats bringing in fresh local produce for the deli and cafe, I knew this place was going to be something special.
The deli sits at the entrance of the building, selling an huge selection of fresh seafood, pastries and ready-made dishes. When I say fresh, I mean fillets of fish caught at 5:30 am that day!
All of the food is prepared onsite, from the dressed crabs to the in-house smoked salmon. The level of effort that goes into the quality of the produce sold is staggering and it’s no wonder the deli is thriving and over the years expanded into the cafe.
When you walk through the building, there is an inside dining area with plenty of seating. It’s a friendly, casual setting to relax and enjoy some first rate seafood…nothing too fancy, just the way I like it!
I opted to sit outside on the patio area out back. It wasn’t blazing sunshine, but given it was warm and dry it was good for me. Not to mention the lovely views of the Seaburn coastline which complete the experience!
The menu offers up an enticing selection of seafood delights including breakfast, lunch and light bites. You can go as big or as small as you like, with dishes including soups, salads, sandwiches, fish dishes, all the way up to £98 sharing platters for 4 people.
There were more than a few dishes I wanted to try, but to start with, I opted for the smokie fish chowder (£6.25), 3 Lindisfarne oysters (£4.75) and their award-winning smoked salmon (sample dish).
As a big seafood fan, I can easily say hand-on-heart, this is some of the best in the North East. Everything is incredibly fresh and simply delicious.
First up were the oysters. I already knew that Lindisfarne oysters are first-rate, with a plethora of popular North East restaurants serving them up.
They were served with lemon wedges and Tabasco sauce and are just about as good as they get.
The smoked salmon, however, was something totally unexpected and an absolute revelation. It made me realise how inadequate a lot of store-bought smoked salmon actually is.
It has a wonderfully rich smoke-infused flavour, that didn’t completely overpower the delicate flavour of the salmon, but instead complimented it perfectly.
The large chunks were super tender and it’s easy to see why it’s award-winning. Needless to say, I bought some from the deli on my way out to take home- it was that good!
Finally, I tried the Smokie Fish Chowder. I hadn’t tried fish chowder before this, but had always wanted to when watching cooking shows from America.
It totally lived up to my expectation as a real hearty dish! The thick, creamy potato and onion base was packed full of flavoursome smokey fish chunks, with haddock being the filling that day (alternating with cod).
If I was dropping in for a quick lunch in future, a bowl of this mouthwatering chowder will 100% be my go-to choice!
For my main plate, I had heard that the ‘naked fish and chips’ (£14) were the only way to go. You can choose which fish you would like with specials depending on the latest catch. I was recommended the Hake by a member of their team, so had to give it a try.
Unlike other restaurants, Latimers don’t serve battered fish. In fact, nothing is fried! The chips are oven-cooked and the fish is cooked in foil parchment, with butter, dill and a slice of lemon.
When you peel open the paper and the sensational aroma hits you, it’s easy to see why they’re so hardline about not frying their fish.
The fillet was nice and meaty with a fantastic flavour. It was super tender, melting in the mouth, pairing so well with the delicious butter and lemon. It wasn’t ruined by being overcooked or dripping in oil like certain places would have it served. It was cooked to perfection!
The chunky chips were nice and crispy and the mushy peas were piping hot. A perfect traditional accompaniment.
It really was a fantastic dish and I’d highly recommend trying it. Even if you’re usually a fan of battered fish, trust me, this blows it out the water.
It’s clear to see from a mile away that the team at Latimers are incredibly passionate about the food they serve, from where it is sourced to how it is prepared in house.
The owner, Robert, even explained how he’s selected the suppliers he works with over others, based on how well they treat their catch, as he knows it has a massive impact on the quality his customers receive. Not to mention the fact that the 30+ team prepares everything fresh in-house, from the dressed crabs to the baked pastries.
I’m a firm believer that you can’t beat fresh and local produce when it comes to cooking and Latimers is a shining North East example of how true that is. Needless to say, I’ll be visiting again for a meal and fresh ingredients for cooking at home.