Review: Trenchers at Spanish City, Whitley Bay
Everything you could want and more from a fish and chip restaurant
It’s always a treat to visit the iconic building that is Spanish City. Originally built in 1910, it has been restored to its former glory and is now an elegant dining venue in the seaside town of Whitley Bay.
Spanish City is home to five restaurants, but we were there to try Trenchers, a fish and chip restaurant that has been operating in Whitby for 40 years, and in Spanish City since 2018. We stepped into an impressive space with high domed ceiling, gold cornicing, marble tables and a grand piano in the centre – this is not your average fish and chip restaurant.
After a long day at work, we certainly had an appetite, but first we turned our attention to the drinks options – a bottle of Argentinian malbec bonarda took our fancy.
As well as the classics you would hope for from an award-winning fish and chip restaurant, you’ll find more luxurious dishes on the menu at Trenchers too. The first thing to arrive on our table was six dressed oysters. They were perfectly prepared and super fresh (our favourites had to be those soaked in red wine and shallot vinegar).
For starters, we’d chosen Scottish mussels in a white wine, garlic and parsley sauce, and the hot and cold smoked salmon salad. The salad was the perfect summer dish, served with new potatoes, baby gem, capers and dill dressing. Meanwhile, the mussels were so simple yet so tasty. The sauce was full of flavour without overpowering the seafood, and the crusty bread for dipping was the perfect accompaniment.
Next up we chose the large haddock and chips with lemon and tartare sauce. In Trenchers’ signature style, succulent white meat is fried in beef dripping so it’s coated in a crisp golden batter, and you can really taste the difference. Meanwhile on the other side of the table we got the 8oz ribeye steak alongside a portion of skin-on fries. The meat was delicious, covered in a roast garlic and parsley butter, while sun-dried tomatoes elevated the side salad.
Both dishes were extremely generous in size, so we took a short breather before dessert. With a pianist playing in the background, Trenchers really does have a special ambience. When we caught up with the talented piano player later (his name is Mike Waller) we discover that his whole repertoire is played from the top of his head, which is quite impressive – especially considering diners can make requests.
It’s time to order dessert. Having stuck to classic dishes so far I decided to try something a little different for the final course, picking the orange and polenta cake with raspberry sorbet. The sweet glaze perfectly balanced the citrusy cake, while the berry-filled centre was a delightful surprise. My friend on the other hand went traditional to the very end, opting for a sticky toffee pudding, and told me it was up there with the best.
We finished the evening working off our four courses with a stroll along the seafront, agreeing we’ll be back to visit again soon – this time with a request for the pianist!