This week, we were kindly invited along to River Beat on Wednesday to try their Vegan Tapas menu. The venue is located on the Gateshead side of the river, just down from the Hilton hotel. We had walked past a few times on our Quayside explorations, but never went in. Since we both went vegan, we have been increasingly hesitant to try new places in town, unless they have been recommended to us by vegan friends or on the North East Vegan and Vegetarians Facebook Group. Up until now, we had no idea that River Beat not only catered to vegans, but had an entirely vegan page in their menu. In fact, they offer 3 for £10 on all vegan tapas on a Wednesday night – a midweek treat you’d be mad to miss.
River Beat is an asian-fusion tapas restaurant, which you wouldn’t think from the branding. The logo is reminiscent of Newcastle’s very own Fitzys – in fact, we had thought it was a Fitzys until we looked a little closer at the menu!
The interior of River Beat is absolute #goals. Every element of the decor is carefully selected – I am terrible at describing these things, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. The most remarkable thing about River Beat has to be the view, the full length patio doors showcase the Newcastle Quayside, and you can even see the castle itself. When we went it was pretty miserable weather, but I imagine this is the place to be on a sunny day.
From the moment we walked in, we knew the service would be top-knotch. The friendly water gave us some citrus-infused tap water while we browsed the menu. River Beat offers a really great selection of vegan tapas inspired by traditional dishes, like tofu, hoisin and pancakes; or the three onion and lime pickle bhaji. We ordered all of the vegan tapas to share, we thought we better get a taste of everything for the blog, right? 😉 To drink, I went for a Fentiman’s Ginger Beer as I was driving, and Craig ordered a pint of Tiger, one of his favourite beers. There was a fab selection of cocktails and wines on the menu, and the waiter assured us that almost all the wines were vegan. If there’s one thing to say about the staff at River Beat, it’s that they know their stuff!
The food arrived staggered, in classic tapas style. Every single dish was beautifully presented, it was almost a shame to dig in! My personal favourites were the Pad Thai and Sweet Potato Bravas, while Craig loved the Thai Papaya Salad, which was jam-packed with fresh papaya and vegetables. The risk with asian fusion food can be that it all kind of mixes together and all the dishes end up tasting the same, but that was not the case here. Each dish had it own unique flavour thanks to perfect spices and seasonings. I really don’t have any criticisms – except that I could have kept eating all night!
For dessert, we shared the vegan rice pudding, which may sound like an odd choice but it was absolutely delicious. Served on a bed of peanut butter, the vegan rice pudding was cooked in coconut milk, served with strawberries and passion fruit sorbet. Yum!
River Beat isn’t just a fantastic restaurant in a beautiful location, but it’s also a great venue for parties. With two function rooms – one sit-down dining room, and another party venue – River Beat has something for everyone. Whether you’re vegan or not, I would highly recommend giving River Beat a go, it’s only a five-minute walk across the bridge and the view is second to none.
Have you been to River Beat yet? What did you think?