BLUE skies, a bit of sun and a long weekend are good for one thing – and that’s a leisurely day of eating and drinking too much.

Deciding to make a day of it we left the car behind and walked the four miles into Durham, working up quite an appetite as we meandered our way to town.

Our destination for the day was one of Durham’s newer eateries; The Riverview Kitchen, right next to Framwelgate Bridge.

Replacing Bella Italia, the Riverview Kitchen has been open since March and has undergone a fairly substantial remodelling.

True to it’s name, it has a stunning view of the river. Perfectly situated on the Wear, it occupies one of the most scenic spots in Durham.

Unfortunately, though unsurprisingly, the small outside area was packed so we found ourselves a table inside.

I liked the look they’ve given the place, which makes the most of the large windows down one side of the building which give beautiful views of the river.

Otherwise it’s pretty on trend with an industrial/quirky vibe and a penchant for geometric shapes. Think brick walls and bare light bulbs, with a smattering of dog patterned cushions.

It feels modern with good attention to detail. They get a bonus point from me for serving their tea up in beautiful iron pots which makes sure it stays hot until the last cup.

They have both a breakfast and lunch menu. Arriving after noon we only had the choice of the lunch menu, which is mostly sandwiches, burgers, wraps and salads.

Though tempted by the massive wodge of quiche the woman at the table next to us was eating, we both ended up choosing ciabattas.

Having just walked past a chip shop, the smell of which sent my appetite into overdrive, I went for their ‘posh fish finger’ ciabatta (£7.50) while my lunching companion for the day had one with goats cheese, caramelised onion and spinach (£6.50).

We were both hungry so ordered sides of chips and sweet potato fries but they turned out to be fairly unnecessary.

The ciabattas themselves were substantial, served with large side salads, tortilla chips and a really chunky red cabbage coleslaw.

Having previously complained about my chips being too small, I should say these most definitely were not. I think they’re what Mary Berry might describe as “man-sized”. I would say ‘just about right’, though, seriously, the potatoes must have been the size of my face.

I’ve also previously complained about token side salads. This one however was pretty good. It’s still never going to be my favourite food – but it had enough dressing and extra bits to make sure you could barely taste the lettuce.

Moving on the next round, I have to say I was slightly unimpressed by the cake selection. If I was going to judge a café on its appearance, I would say the Riverview Kitchen looks like a place where you would be able to find enough cake to make

As it was there were a few tray bakes, scones and a couple of other bakes but nothing of the full-on cake variety I was hoping for. Though tempting, it wasn’t quite what I was in the for but I made the most of things and decided to have a brownie and some ice cream for dessert.

But in the end the brownie was sold out so I ended up just having the ice cream, which was a luxuriously creamy raspberry ripple affair (£1.75 a scoop). Very nice.

Carlo had an Oreo clotted cream milkshake in place of pudding (£3.50), which was suitably thick and creamy.

Service was slightly on the slowish side, but friendly and it was a very busy day. We weren’t in a rush so were more than happy to wait. In the new era of war against plastic, they get another bonus point for filling up my water bottle for me for the walk home.


The Riverview Kitchen, 20 Silver Street, Durham, DH1 3RB

Tel: 0191-3845777

Food: 7

Surroundings: 8

Value: 7

Service: 7