Review of Loch Fyne, Bluewater
I’ve been to Bluewater more times than I can count, but it’s only recently that I’ve started to explore its restaurants as well as its shops and cinema. Seafood restaurant Loch Fyne has been on my ‘to do’ list for a while now, so it was with a certain amount of relish and anticipation that I ventured in one evening to enjoy what it had to offer.
The first thing that no one can help but notice when entering the light, bright, comfortable bistro-style restaurant is the enormous and wonderfully well stocked fish counter that sits resplendent in the middle of the dining room. It is quite a sight – it was a delight to find such a fabulous array of fish. And these were not just to be used by the restaurant either, but were available to buy whether you were dining there or not.
Sitting down at our table, we were welcomed warmly by our waiter who was more than happy to let us peruse the mouth-watering new menu for a while – although if we had any questions he would have the answers. The menu I had in my hands was the biggest menu change Loch Fyne had been through in the past 25 years, and it is a testament to the minds of the chefs behind the new dishes.
Starters were particularly problematic as each one’s description read as well as the next! I was almost swayed by the salt and pepper squid, but decided to try something different – the fish soup. My partner had the pan-fried garlic and chilli king prawns; neither of us were disappointed. My soup came with a small cup of creamy saffron aioli and another of Gruyere cheese, as well as a couple of slices of fresh granary bread. Combining these extras with the fish soup itself gave me a well-balanced and delicately flavoured starter that I would happily eat again. And again. As for the prawns, they were gorgeously presented in a miniature copper pan, and they had just the right hit of chilli to make them moreish. Juicy, plump and pink, they really were wonderful.
The new menu at Loch Fyne offers up a larger range of meat and vegetarian dishes than ever before but, we thought, when in Rome (or when in a restaurant famous for its fish)… So I ordered the poached smoked haddock which was served on a mustard mash with leeks and a light cream sauce with a breadcrumb encased poached egg on the top – an egg which, when cut open, oozed (in the best possible way) temptingly all over the fish. Heaven. My partner went for the whole roasted sea bass with roasted sweet pickled vegetables, smoked paprika and sautéed potatoes. Rather cleverly, these were served inside the fish itself, giving a real ‘wow factor’ to the dish (although the gorgeous taste of it helped with that as well!).
Feeling full but not uncomfortably so, we both decided that a dessert was most certainly in order. I had spotted the chocolate and burnt banana split right at the start, and was determined to have it. I was right to have made room. This dessert, with its salted caramel sauce and its burnt butter ice cream, was sublime. And as for the crème brulee that my partner chose… the crunch of that sugar on the top as his spoon cracked through it was music to a food lover’s ears.
The food, the atmosphere, the friendly waiting staff, and that epic fish counter all make Loch Fyne a truly stylish yet comfortable place to eat.
Loch Fyne Seafood & Grill
Bluewater Shopping Centre