The shack that Adam built
The shack that Adam built
Nigel Cabourn and Adam Riley are good friends at Tynemouth, carving their presence on the sands of King Edwards Bay. Nigel works out on a vintage medicine ball and struggles to wear new clothes, while Adam prepares and serves the much-needed local fish at his own restaurant, The Hut. there is While staff changed into Nigel Cabourn's dungarees and beanies, Adam kindly shared how Riley's Fish Shack became the local icon it is today. gave me
There's something special about British beaches. On a fine day, walking down the sandy trails to King Edwards Bay, watching the sun illuminate the bluffs, the Costa del Somehow I found myself scrolling through my social media feed while tanning on the beach. It feels so much more precious than a day that seems to be
There's something special about British beaches. Because even when the skies of King Edwards Beach turn gunmetal gray and the water moves as finely and violently as a TV sandstorm, it still makes me want to be there. Of course, it won't be easy. The jacket must be zipped up and the hatch must be battened. But has it ever been so easy to be worth experiencing? Ask Nigel, who makes navy-style dungarees look the most authentically worn (never worn out), to see what you'll find. He kneels in the sand and holds the Libro dough firmly in his hand. A heavy material is submerged in water, and the surface is scraped off with a salt-soaked stone.
There's something special about British beaches. Whatever the weather, you'll find places like Riley's Fish Shack in King Edwards Bay. Wood, iron, hooks, stoves, local kippers (smoked salmon and herring) and local interesting people. One that exists only in King Edwards Bay is someone like Adam Riley. A teenage “bad boy” who started working in a kitchen on the Isle of Man (because his mother thought it would keep him out of trouble if he got a job) settled in Tynemouth, where local fishermen and big-city cuisine were introduced. He took the helm of a grocery store that was equally admired by critics.
What inspired you to start cooking?
I grew up on the Isle of Man and started working in a local restaurant when I was a teenager. It was run by an eccentric Swiss millionaire as a hobby. It was so much fun to go out foraging and the owner showed up with a whole wild boar. It was an exciting place to work and I think my mom was happy to get me off the streets!
What kind of route did you follow from there until now?
I left my hometown when I was 17, and my father lived in Newcastle and ran a theater company. I did music production for a while and did a lot of theater work. Set design, sound design, etc. Unfortunately, in 2010, the company, like many others of its kind in the same period, lost a lot of funding from the Arts Council.
My wife and I live in Tynemouth, and we've always talked about opening a fish restaurant. There is a fish market here, but most of them go out, so no one was cooking fish here.
Right around Jubilee (Queen Elizabeth's 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee, 2012), it really started when I welded a BBQ stand to my bike! I started doing it just for fun, but then I started doing things related to fish and food at various events, and it spread from there. I had quite a few followers, and by 2015, I had enough money to build this hut and open a fish restaurant.
What made you feel Tynemouth was the right place for you?
I've always wanted to live here if I lived on the coast...at least for me. It's got a beautiful beach, it's clean... For many years my dad and others used to go swimming every morning at King Edwards Bay. It was also quiet, unspoiled, underutilized and isolated. I guess that's why I was drawn to it. The council (regional administrator) told me that I should go somewhere with more traffic, but I couldn't agree with that, so I was angry! Here, you can create your own space rather than trying to satisfy everyone. I think that doing something for the majority will result in diluting what you can offer.
How was the space created?
I built it myself with a little help from others, but I like to change things as I build, and I can't use that in a large building that involves a lot of craftsmen. This fish hut was constructed in the same way that theater sets were built. It was nothing more than doing what I thought was right (thankfully my brother-in-law is an architect and he was very helpful in teaching me things like building regulations!).
And we have Nigel's dungarees, and I love that they are so-called uniforms. Each one can be worn according to one's own style, and it's not unnatural, it's a relaxed atmosphere...of course, it's also the most functional.
I feel like everything you do there is considered important to bring that type of functionality and authenticity to the fore.
In order to be able to buy at the local market, as a trader, I have to pay a security deposit. When I first registered in 2012 or 2013, everyone laughed! "Who is this guy? He'll be gone in six months...". But as time went on, of course, the respect increased, and we were able to get very good prices and function effectively as a merchant and a restaurant, so to speak. I think it was really good because it raised the value of the fish in the market and the fishermen made more money.
Really, what we're doing is good for everyone. More people are buying local fish, and it's helping promote North Shields.