It’s a fairly rare occurrence that, at any level of restaurant, we experience a faultless meal. But this dinner was one of them. Catch really does have it all. There’s the historic building – with a fishmongers on the ground floor and the restaurant up a level. It’s a sympathetic development, preserving the wooden timbers supporting the roof, whilst creating a modern dining space with open kitchen beneath them. There’s engaging and knowledgeable front of house staff. And a very short menu with just three choices at each course. Much is made of local provenance and to the fact that the d y boats land their catch literally on the other side of the road from the restaurant. And, finally, there’s a kitchen that is absolutely on the ball with its cooking.
So, there was sourdough to nibble – baked for them at the bakers at the end of the street. It comes with crab flavoured butter, white crab meat and a lemon gel. You just know that if so much care is taken with the bread, the rest of your meal is going to be a treat. Then there’s a snack – a single mouthful trout tart, topped with trout caviar. It’s delish.
Scallop ceviche was one starter. Thinly sliced scallops, apple and lightly pickled cucumber, brought together with a dill dressing. It’s as light and fresh as you like. As was a small fillet of skate, topped with slivers of roasted mushroom, together with a mushroom broth.
I suspect you’re never going to see gurnard on a restaurant menu away from the coast and precious few at the coast. They cooked it on the barbeque. Perfectly. Also on the plate, a mound of roasted sweetcorn and more shreds of crab. And there’s a separate dish of beans – green beans, runners and haricot – in a crab bisque with so much flavour, it could blow your socks off.
Sea bass was the other main course. It was lovely with a clever use of autumnal squash. That was layered up with potato into a cake, like a dauphinoise. There’s also a spoonful of squash puree, topped with powdered seaweed. And a disc of baked squash. The sauce is made from roasting the fish bones and then adding stock and red wine. We also ordered a side of lobster macaroni cheese. They incorporate lobster bisque into the cheese sauce. No, we didn’t really need it, but it’s not the sort of thing you come across in Britain. It’s an enormous portion. And utterly decadent. And utterly delicious. And, no, we couldn’t finish it.
We both went with the same dessert – a thin layer of cake (?), topped with blackberries, chunks of honeycomb and a yoghurt cream. It’s not overly sweet but sweet enough for you to know you’ve come to the end of dinner.
Catch has only been open for 14 months. You have to wish them every success for the future.