To those returning, welcome back, and to those who have crossed the threshold and joined the party for the first time, welcome. It’s always a pleasure to have fresh faces around the table each week, so thank you to everyone for inviting their nearest and dearest to pull up a chair. A reminder that you can find past issues here and that you can invite others to join simply by forwarding them this email or copying and pasting the link above.
So what’s on the menu today? Keeping it fresh by serving up whatever happens to pop into the chef’s head each week, we’ll be enjoying Northumberland’s favourite fish shack, discovering how a Paul Giamatti movie gave Merlot producers a real headache and unearthing a few classic midweek meals.
Your Favourite Restaurant You’ve Never Been To
Continuing an unintended but equally wonderful thread of husband and wife teams creating culinary masterpieces - thinking back to The Fife Arms - we turn our attention to the North East and the seemingly inimitable Riley’s Fish Shack.
Set within the shadows of Tynemouth Castle & Priory ruins, Lucy and Adam Riley have combined to conjure up one hell of a spot. Putting sustainability at the heart of everything they do, their semi-portable beach shack serves up catches from local day boats, regionally-sourced beers and an array of home-made beverages.
Alex Telfer's beautiful snap of mackerel being cooked over fire at Riley's Fish Shack
Beginning as a roving food stall - attached to a bicycle no less - back in 2012, it appears that everything and nothing has changed in the last nine years. Their unwavering commitment to the fruits of the region remains central to the operation, albeit the queues and the adulation have almost certainly grown in tandem over time. Serving up an ever-changing menu that can include monkfish, mackerel and garlic potatoes amongst various other treats, the prospect of a visit really does make the heart sing. Just remember to pack a raincoat…
For many, there is a duality that exists in their experiences of wine. We love opening a bottle, pouring ourselves or our friends a glass and the conversations that flow from it. That’s one side, the other can be feelings of inferiority or uncertainty - not knowing which wine to choose in a shop or on a menu, feeling that we can’t contribute to conversations around wine or simply not wanting to.
At Wednesday’s Domaine, we believe in inclusivity and opening up the conversation around wine and the ways in which we interact with it. Let’s start today by talking a little more about Pinot Noir and its storied history.
Not unlike myself, it’s thin-skinned and favours cooler climates. Having first tickled the fancy of the Romans, who had landed upon it during their invasion of Gaul, or modern day France, it’s now best known as Burgundy’s premier red wine grape. Its name has its origins in its appearance, with “pinot” derived from “pine” given its tightly-clustered bunches that resemble a pine cone, whilst “noir” pertains to the grape’s natural dark colour.
Despite France holding the title for growing the most Pinot Noir globally, this little beauty is cultivated across the world with Moldova and Switzerland having thrown their hat into the ring alongside wine world heavyweights, USA and New Zealand.
If that’s whet your whistle and you want to know more, you can’t go wrong with Paul Giamatti’s ode to Pinot Noir in the 2004 hit, Sideways. If its 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes wasn’t enough, it has been estimated that the film’s affections for Pinot Noir and its scorn of Merlot cost growers of the latter some $400M in lost sales in the decade after its release.
If all that talk of Pinot Noir has you wondering what to pair it with, you cannot go wrong with these simple midweek staples:
Claudia Roden’s olive and anchovies spaghetti
Hairy Bikers’ sausage casserole
Bridget Jones’ Ottolenghi salmon (yes, you read that correctly)
Thank you so much for joining, I look forward to welcoming you back next Wednesday,
PS. Don’t want to wait a whole week for our next edition? Check us out on Instagram (@wednesdaysdomaine) for your daily tipple.