Back in 2013, I had lunch at Mitch Tonk’s flagship restaurant, the Seahorse in Dartmouth. There wasn’t the opportunity to repeat the experience this trip but we were able to come to this branch of his mini-chain of seafood restaurants.
It’s a perfect location, right on the harbourside, where most of Tonks’ seafood is landed, often from his own boar, the Rockfisher. The menu is clever. Starters are listed and there’s a handful of standard main course dishes – the likes of fish & chips, or scallops in batter. But it also lists seafood which may or may not be available that day, depending on what the boats have brought in. Freshness is a key element here – the chain’s slogan is “Tomorrow’s fish is still in the sea”. The server tells you the varieties available and how they’ll be prepared. There were four.
So, for starters, there were crisp squid rings with what was described as a Singapore dipping sauce, but most folk, me included, would know this better as Thai sweet chilli sauce. Lots of chilli in the sauce and lots of thinly sliced red chilli across the squid. For want of a better pun, it “rocked”. The other plate was also the essence of good seafood cookery – take top quality ingredients and do very little with them. Here, scallops had been grilled on the shell and served with a scattering of crisp bread crumbsand garlic butter. And there’s bread for mopping up the sauce.
There was a whole Dover sole for one main course. Just simply grilled. For the other, a traditional dressed Brixham crab, served with thick slices of bread, mayo and a small handful of rocket. All main courses come with either a mixed salad or unlimited chips. “Unlimited chops” , eh? Music to the ears of this northerner. We ordered a salad and the chips. They also come with your choice of still or sparkling mineral water. Both plates were as perfect a seafood plate as you could wish for.
Only one of us wanted dessert. They are not big on desserts here. It’s only ice cream or the “dessert of the day”. And that day, it a lovely cheesecake topped with summer berries. Rich, sweet, fruity – you don’t really need more from a pudding.