SEATON CAREW was once a little fishing village that grew into something of a seaside holiday resort for people from across County Durham to traditionally visit.

Initially it was wealthy Quaker families from Darlington who set the ball rolling in that area, travelling over by horse and carriage, then latterly by rail, to grace the four miles of sandy beach.

It was during those periods between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries when the little tiny spot on the outskirts of Hartlepool became more than just somewhere to head with fishing tackle and bait, and that is how it remains to this day.

In more recent times, while still attracting the day-trippers from the North-East, Seaton Carew is more renowned for its annual Bonfire fireworks display, its strong sporting community at grassroots level, even the canoe man, John Darwin. Oh, and the fish and chips.

Occupying the first floor above one of those many fish and chip shops along The Front, besides the quirky Gladys Tea Room and a short walk from a bowling alley and a couple of amusement arcades, there is now a seafood restaurant to savour. Locals can’t remember there ever being a seafood restaurant in Seaton Carew before, let alone one that hits the heights of this one.

The Blu Lobster is owned by the same people who have Fish Face, which has an award-winning reputation in its own right, and shares the end terrace.

Rather than serve up the usual cod and chips or a fish fritter, a little walk around the corner and through the side door instead of the front presents a completely different experience.

This once wreck of an apartment has been completely renovated. After walking upstairs, there is a nautical vibe and a seaview to offer a different taste of Seaton, which has been going through its own restoration in recent years (except for one eyesore, the old Longscar site that caught fire last year).

“Seaton is going places, it’s really starting to catch on,” one man could be heard saying to his wife over dinner.

And with a place like Blu Lobster serving up such delights then it will only help. The evening menu feels quite pricey compared to other nearby restaurants, but the high standards reflect this and there is also a lunch-time and Sunday dinner menu.

The Blu Lobster is supplied by Hodgson Fish, the Hartlepool business renowned for supplying the best fish the ocean has to offer to Michelin-starred restaurants and leading hotels, such as the Black Swan in Oldstead and the Raby Hunt in Summerhouse, Darlington.

Hodgson will be proud of what Blu Lobster’s chef, who specialises in seafood and is apparently from Down Under who was headhunted from out of town, can do with the fish he orders to play around with.

The staff were attentive and polite from the moment you walk in and, after sitting down and taking the drinks order, there was an amuse-bouche that was compliments of the chef, and on this occasion it was a delightful Arctic char that arrived on a little cracker.

The a la carte menu, which changes regularly, included starters such as pan-fried scallops on a black pudding, spice carrot puree and truffle dressing (£11), or the charred local squid with Vietnamese coleslaw and lime dressing (£9).

The Mussels served in Piccolo tomatoes and blessed with chorizo and croutons a la crème (£11) were a perfect mix and couldn’t have tasted any better, while the sweet and sour prawns (£12) were delicious served in a ginger and pink pepper broth.

That was just flavour of what was to come. While tempted by the Norwegian Skrei Cod (£18) and the pan roasted halibut (£19), there were two other main meals that pulled us in, although in reality all of them were an option.

The Blu Lobster offers meat and vegetarian dishes, but provided you like seafood you will not be disappointed with the quality of what is produced in the kitchen and provides something a lot different to what normally graces a menu.

Classic Spanish paella (£19.50) arrived with fresh langoustines ready to shell, a generous portion of mussels and clams, as well as some tasty chicken and chipolatas. It was an absolute delight, even if I might not have been the most experienced user of the accompanying crab and lobster cutter.

It’s not particularly common to see a red snapper on a North-East menu, but a fish that is native to the western Atlantic Ocean still provided a perfect treat by the Seaton Carew sands.

Pan roasted, the red snapper (£19) was served over Jerusalem artichokes, salsify and purple sprouting broccoli. “It was delicious”, claimed Bianca, “cooked to perfection and complimented by the creamy sauce and edible flowers”, along with some seasonal buttered greens on the side.

The desserts were amazing too. There was a triple chocolate tart (£9) and a passion fruit white chocolate cheesecake on a blood orange sorbet (£8) to dive in to, we will be back to try more another day.


Blu Lobster, The Front, Seaton Carew, TS25 1BS

Tel: 01429 222128


Open: Tuesday and Wednesday 5.30-10pm; Thursday-Saturday 12-2pm & 5.30-10pm; Sundays 12-4pm. Monday closed.

There is a nautical theme, with plenty of dietary options, and hosts regular live music events.

Ratings (out of ten): Food Quality 9, Service 8, Surroundings 7, Value 8