With the advent of a new season comes new seasonal menus introduced in restaurants across the country. One such eatery is Loch Fyne, who I have reviewed before.
Loch Fyne is described as an upscale chain restaurant whose offerings include sustainably sourced British fish and seafood, plus meat dishes. There are various menus including brunch, lunch, à la carte and children’s menu, with bookings now being taken for Christmas and New Year.
Loch Fyne is something of an oxymoron, in that it wears the badge of chain restaurant, but it beats with the heart of an independent eatery. It is a nice place to be in, and its intimate setting is a boon for diners both solo and in large parties, who are seeking some place special for a bite to eat.
We dine from the new menu, kicking off with oysters. They are sea-fresh and pretty perfect when slurped with a hefty splash of the accompanying red wine and shallot vinegar dressing.
My love affair with Padròn peppers continues, and I wholly submit to Loch Fyne’s plump, burnished beauties. The chargrilled notes are ratcheted with the addition of smoked sea salt, and the dish seems to empty in no time at all. I don’t come across a hot one, but I am a hopeful soul, so I will cross my fingers for next time.
Seafood is my jam, which is why I find it difficult to wait, whilst my dining partner takes photos of the Scottish king scallops. Fleshy yet boasting a translucent middle, Loch Fyne’s scallops are things of beauty. I especially like the meaty bed of chickpea and ‘Nduja stew, which adds another flavour dimension to the dish. The textures too work very well together, meaning each mouthful might have chewy spicy sausage, nutty chickpeas, or silky tomato.
Dining partners baked squash and ricotta tart is a winner on all levels. Pastry with a discernible short crumb, creamy filling, and an emulsion with a mulled syrup base is genius. I snaffle a forkful and especially like the combination of baby beetroot swiped through the sticky, sweet syrup.
Main of Lobster Thermidor arrives with a flourish. I am initially unsure about the accompanying Basmati rice, but it is a harmless side. I would prefer a dipping sauce, but the lobster is a strong main and I enjoy the dish on the whole.
Dining partner’s pan-fried cod fillet is an impressive dish. A meaty hunk of fish sits atop a juicy pile of pimped up lentils. The lentils are so moreish (the pancetta and red wine make for a heady combination), I could eat a bowl of these and happily pay for it as a standalone main. Creamy chive butter sauce and crispy shallots are the crowning glory, making this dish a hot favourite at the table.
Service is attentive throughout the meal, and I see front of house greeting diners like old friends.
The lunch-time service attracts a mixed crowd. From a solo diner in the corner people-watching over lunch, to a jovial party of six on the adjacent table, the appeal of Loch Fyne is diverse.
I have lunched a few times at Loch Fyne, and always enjoyed the dining experience. Their ‘Specials Board’ is also very appealing; this alongside the inviting ambience, and stellar service, means another visit is imperative this month.
Restaurant name: Loch Fyne
Address: 7 King St, Nottingham NG1 2AY
Mon-Thurs: 9am – 10pm
Fri-Sat 9am – 10:30pm
Telephone: 0115 988 6840
Head chef: Manni
Front of house: Alex
Caters for dietary requirements: Yes, including gluten-free
Wheelchair friendly: Y
Quietest table: 17
How to get there: Its central location on King street means it is easily accessible. I boarded the Red Arrow from Derby, which takes circa 30 minutes.
Whilst in the area: Duck into Oxfam on the parallel street whose burgeoning book selection is a place you can while a few hours away.
FYI: if you keep a hold of the receipt post-meal, you can use it to get 25% discount off your next meal at Loch Fyne. You’re very welcome.