Elf, roasted chestnuts, mince pies, mulled wine, turkey. If you’re not a fan of the aforementioned Christmas turkey staple, then stay glued.
I love seafood and wish there were more specialist seafood eateries around. As I want to eat less meat and switch over to fish instead, I’m actively looking at more fish recipes and restaurants to lead a fish- and vegetable-heavy diet.
The need to embrace a pescatarian lifestyle is mainly down to a healthier outlook. When I was in Japan earlier this year, the bulk of my diet was fish and vegetables. At the end of my Kyoto trip, I felt lighter, had buckets of energy and promised to eat more fish when I returned home.
Yes, there are plenty of restaurants that do serve fish – but there is a lamentable dearth of specialist seafood restaurants that shine a spotlight on these delicious fruits of the sea.
I have had my sights set on Loch Fyne Nottingham for a while, and I eventually got around to reviewing it over the weekend.
Nestled on King Street slap bang in Nottingham City Centre, it channels a cheeky nautical theme down to a tee. Midnight blue logo with sea foam coloured branding is on point, whilst the shiny white tiles are reminiscent of a fishmongers (more on that later).
Even the Christmas decorations have a sea-theme; I thought the sea-dragon and star-fish baubles were clever, unique and innately cool.
It’s a great menu that leaves you satisfied with the number of choices, but doesn’t leave you befuddled with excessive flexibility. From gilt-head bream fillet to fish soup, this is fish heaven for fish lovers. The kind menu is also considerate to those who prefer meat, including dishes such as Aberdeen Angus chargrilled burger and British ham salad.
We were seated by the lovely Jane, who took our order efficiently and offered us an oyster whilst we waited for our mains to arrive.
Oysters were fresh and delicious, the tang of the pickled onions a nice twist on tabasco sauce and lemon.
We were seated for a 1:30pm reservation, and there was a nice buzz in the restaurant. There seemed to be a few regulars (deduced from the familiar way Jane greeted them), and I think having a loyal set of returning diners speaks volumes about the eatery.
I kicked off with a starter of grilled Scottish king scallops, which were succulent, delicious and with a beautiful translucent inside. It was easy to gobble the first one up (it was scrumptious), but I took my time with the second one as I made notes on the flavour notes. Addition of the chorizo gave it a smoky depth, whilst the river of garlic butter was inspired and beautiful. Garlic and smoky notes is my favourite combination, and I will most certainly be trying this flavourful marriage when I cook fish at home.
Dining partner had pan-fried garlic king prawns, that arrived with pomp and circumstance in a mini-saucepan. I love mini- skillets and pans, and think these receptacles heighten the sense of occasion and make dining a special affair. Here, tender prawns with a dusting of spice and light crumb was beautiful to look at and tuck into. I especially liked the baked lemon wedge, which was rendered sweeter with its time in the oven. A side of granary bread was imperative to soak up the puddle of olive oil with a citrus kick that lay at the bottom of the saucepan.
For main, I had pan-fried halibut (samphire, sautéed Heritage potatoes, lobster butter). Delicate flesh was a joy to tuck into, with a combination of a few large flakes giving it a wondrous meaty texture. Sides of samphire were very good. I adore salty samphire and could eat tangled fistfuls of this any day of the week.
My side of Dauphinoise potatoes was creamy, cheesy and luxurious, and I’m totally unabashed when I say that I polished this side off in five minutes.
A dish that caught my eye was the baked beetroot. I have never had baked beetroot. It had me wondering what the flavour would be like. Earthy skin held hot, dense beetroot, and arrived slathered with a crème fraîche topping and sprinkling of chives.
And this is where Loch Fyne excels – it bestows TLC on every single ingredient, on every single dish, creating not just gorgeous dishes but great memories too. I dined at Loch Fyne yesterday and I’m still thinking of that beetroot and oyster 24 hours later.
For main, dining partner had line-caught yellow fin tuna steak. He chose the chargrilled option, and not too pink in the middle. I snaffled a forkful and found the meaty slice yielded with a perfect one-second bite. I especially liked his choice of sauce to accompany the fish; roasted chilli oil was deep, dark and very very hot. Jane was right when she recommended to have the oil served separately – because although we loved it, it may be a little too spicy for other more vanilla palates.
For dessert, I tucked into treacle tart (clotted cream, fresh orange). Pastry was wonderfully crisp with a delectable short crumb, whilst the filling had a textured bite. I have endured so many treacle tarts that have an anodyne, homogenised feel. Not so here, where I could discern the different sizes of breadcrumb. The pith-removed orange segments and clotted cream lifted the dish nicely, making this a surprisingly light end to a meal.
Dining partner had glazed clementine tart (sorbet), which was refreshing on the palate. I especially liked the scattering of cocoa nibs that the sorbet was nestled on, rendering this a great dish if you want a cool and uplifting finish.
The restaurant doubles up as a fishmongers and drink merchants, where you can pick up a bottle of whisky or fillets of fish for supper the following day.
Next time, I’ll be packing up some oysters, because they were light, dreamy and moreish as hell. I adore Loch Fyne Nottingham. Superlative service with a smile, plus good food is a dream team combination that is difficult to ignore.
There are currently a number of menus available including Christmas, Boxing Day, à la carte and gluten-free. Plus, if you keep a hold of your receipt, you will get a hefty 25% discount off your next meal (T&C’s apply).
For fresh and delectable seafood that will have you already pencilling in a return visit whilst you’re AT the restaurant, dine at Loch Fyne Nottingham. You won’t be disappointed (and will probably see me there, scarfing my umpteenth oyster).
Rating: (1: Hate: I’d rather eat my shoe – 10: Love: I’d sell my kidney for a meal here)
Value for money: 8.5
Restaurant name: Loch Fyne Seafood & Grill Nottingham
Open since: 1988
Address: 17 King St, Nottingham NG1 2AY
Opening times: Sun-Thurs 9:00am – 10:00pm / Fri-Sat 9:00am – 10:30pm
How to make reservation: Online & telephone
Call: 0115 988 6840
Front of House / Duty Manager: Jane
General Manager: Robert Glasby
Head Chef: Manni
Whilst in the area check out: Christmas Markets are in full swing, great for picking up some quaint gifts, or just to have a mooch whilst soaking up the festive ambiance (and imbibing a tipple or two).