Pub cooks up a storm with top recognition

The Staith House pub and restaurant at North Shields with business partners James Laffan (left ) and John Calton.'REF 0909149509
The Staith House pub and restaurant at North Shields with business partners James Laffan (left ) and John Calton.'REF 0909149509

A culinary delight in North Shields has been recognised as one of the best pubs in the country – less than a year after opening.

The Staith House, on the Fish Quay, has achieved national recognition and acclaim after being listed in the Good Food Guide.

And the pub – run by Masterchef finalist John Calton and partners Kimberley Calton and James Laffen – won the Great British Pub Awards Best Turnaround pub for North East, Yorkshire and Scotland, being a finalist in the national Great British Pub Awards today (Thursday).

The trio took on the run-down pub, formerly known as the New Dolphin, and with the help of a £291,724 refurbishment by Star Pubs & Bars, went on to transform it from a £500 a week loss making business into a £14,000 a week highly regarded food pub.

John said: “We’re thrilled that in less than a year of opening we’ve been recognised as one of the best pubs in the UK by being listed in The Good Food Guide, The UK’s bestselling restaurant guide.

“It’s a testament to the hard work of the team and to the great support we’ve had from customers, both of whom we’d like to thank.

“We’re also delighted that the pub industry has recognised the gargantuan efforts we’ve made to turn around the Staith House.

“We’ve won the regional award and now have our fingers’ crossed that we’ll win the national award.

“The re-opening of the pub coincided with the birth of our baby daughter, so it has been quite a year.

“We have put in everything we’ve got into making our customers experience the best it can be.

“James and I have worked many a 16 hour day to get it to where it is today.

“Our location on the quay means we can buy our fish, scallops and shellfish direct from the fishermen.

“We filet the fish ourselves and do our own butchery, buying in lamb, beef and pork. This ensures we can serve quality dishes at affordable prices.

“We set ourselves a challenge every day to drive things forward and are passionate about having the best food pub in the north east.

“As it happens people come from as far afield as Scotland and Lancashire to sample our tasting menu on a Thursday night.”

The Staith House has locally sourced ingredients used to create dishes such as grilled fillet of hake with lobster risotto and chervil; roasted grouse with grouse liver pate with brambles, cognac and barley; and Shields crab on toast with shaved fennel salad.