There are big plans for the Coatham area of Redcar, with a £3.75m regeneration project already underway, and ambitious proposals put forward for a new 5,000-seat indoor arena.

So far, the only evidence of what might be to come is the new 18-hole adventure golf course "Frosty Penguin’s Putting Adventure" which opened a few months ago. On a dreich January day at the tail end of the school Christmas holidays, there were a handful of brave souls tackling Frosty's golf challenge, and even fewer on the beach.

It was the sort of the bleak, wild day on which one could imagine the filming of a Scandi-noir style crime thriller taking place – indeed Redcar beach and seafront has provided the backdrop for recent BBC action drama Boat Story, and Sunday's episode of Vera – albeit Brenda Blethyn and co were in town (in their top coats) at what looked like the height of a summer heatwave.

There were no TV crews in sight on the day my sister and I stopped off to blow away some cobwebs with a run on the sands from Coatham towards South Gare and back – just half a dozen dog walkers. Once we had our breath back, we went in search of sustenance, and deciding against the traditional fish and chip lunch, made our away around Coatham's somewhat forlorn boating lake to the relatively new cafe and bistro that has opened overlooking the once-popular attraction.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Looking across the lake at Coatham to The Boathouse

From the outside, The Boathouse looks much as it sounds – like an oversized kiosk where you could hire a miniature boat or buy an ice cream – but once through the door, it is clear a lot of hard work has gone into transforming the premises into a cosy but stylish venue with cheery, patterned wallpaper and smart wooden furniture.

Run by a local family, as well as being a cafe, it also features live music nights and is available for private bookings. We were greeted warmly, and plonked ourselves down at a table at the far end where big glass doors look out onto the lake and the terrace, which will be a lovely spot – and no doubt very busy – to sit out in warmer weather.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Inside The Boathouse in Coatham, Redcar, could not be more different to the outside

The menu opens with a statement about their commitment to using local suppliers where possible – music to my ears – with bacon from a farm in Northallerton, sausages from Carlin Howe, bread from Saltburn's Stonehouse Bakery, and fruit and veg from Middlesbrough.

The lunch options were not extensive – probably a wise decision as a new venue – but all looked good. The pesto salad (£6.95) caught my eye, but it was definitely not salad weather, so instead I opted for a jacket potato with a filling of Yorkshire ham and cheese (£6.95), while Claire chose the soup (£5.95), which was tomato and red pepper on the day of our visit.

Darlington and Stockton Times: A jacket potato with cheese and ham at The Boathouse in Coatham, Redcar

I like my jacket potatoes oven-baked to the point of near-incineration, so I don't often choose them when out and about for fear they come limp and powdery from a blast in the microwave. I need not have worried on this occasion, as although the skin was soft, it was well cooked, and the extensive gloop of melted cheese made it absolutely delicious. The ham was equally plentiful and very tasty, while the salad on the side was fresh and crisp.

Claire's soup was thick, hearty and nourishing, with the bread on the side nicely warmed. It all came well presented and was very, very reasonably priced – with two hot drinks each and a millionaire shortbread we saved for later, the bill came to £25.50.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Warming soup at The Boathouse in Coatham, Redcar

Service throughout was smiley and efficient, and it was clear many of the other customers – families of all generations, friends and dog walkers – were known to the staff.

With all the developments lined up for the area, The Boathouse is clearly well-positioned to take advantage of an uptick in visitor numbers at Coatham, and it is to be hoped that within the regeneration plans, money can be found to give the lake a bit of a spruce up.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Inside The Boathouse in Coatham, Redcar, could not be more different to the outside

Still, on the evidence of our lunch, if it keeps doing what it's doing, The Boathouse could well become a destination in its own right for those who appreciate a warm welcome and a quality lunch, without breaking the bank.

The Boathouse,

Newcomen Terrace, Redcar, TS101DB

01642 481796

Open 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday, and 9.30am to 5.30pm Saturday and Sunday

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 8 Service 9 Value 10 Surroundings 9