[Rye, East Sussex] Webbe's at the Fish Cafe

It’s some years since we were last in Rye, but we remembered a good meal at the Fish Café. So, we decided to go back and see how time had treated it. And time had treated it very well. . A good menu, mainly seafood of course – the restaurant name’s a bit of a give-away. A kitchen that can cook it. And front of house staff who are perfectly on the ball with their service. And things felt very Covid-secure – tables distanced, masked staff, sanitiser, etc.

One starter featured a couple of almost perfectly cooked mackerel fillets – the “almost” coming from a lack of crispy skin (and who wants to eat flabby fish skin). They sat on ripe, mixed heritage tomatoes and a scattering of pickled shallot. It was light and felt absolutely bang-on for early autumn. The other starter was a cheese soufflé, using Olde Sussex Cheddar. Not the lightest soufflé you’ll ever come across but, more importantly, one of the tastiest. It came with salad leaves, apple and walnut, all adding a bit of crunch.

“Rye Bay Fish Stew” was their take on bouillabaisse, right down to the accompaniments of rouille, croutons and parmesan. A nice mix of seafood including white fish, prawns, red mullet (?) and mussels, with saffrom potatoes. But it was the broth that was the stand-out. As rich in flavour as anything you’d find on the other side of the Channel.

Turbot was a special. It was a real treat. Perfectly cooked, it came with roasted new potatoes, sautéed wild mushrooms, a little shredded greens and a red wine just. Just lovely.

We often pass on desserts but the two savoury courses had been so good that we thought it worth a try. Good decision. Raspberry crème brulee, decorated with a few fresh raspberries and a Drambuie ice cream. And an apple pannacotta, accompanied by a take on the classic blackberry & apple combo. There’s lightly poached berries, a gel and a berry sorbet, with slices of apple which I think had been lightly poached in sugar syrup.

We finished with good espresso.