[Weymouth, Dorset] Catch at the Old Fish Market

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.


As @TheLibrarian28 said in response to a different post, you really ate well on this trip! You have had me salivating numerous times.

No reason you should know this as neither of you seem to have this issue, but I note that a huge number of dishes you describe have shellfish, even if that’s not the principle ingredient. I am sadly allergic to shellfish. Do you have any sense of general willingness to accomodate allergies such as this? Whenever you and Mrs H take a trip and you post about it I think that I really need to get back to the UK but then I look at menus and there is an overwhelming amount of shellfish listed, as garnishes, toppings and sauces.


It’s very much a matter of local pride in the food’s provenence. It was the same when we stayed in the neighbouring county of Devon last year. Lots of seafood. It’s not something you see that much in other coastal areas in the UK. The port of Dover, in Kent, is the closest to France - just 21 miles away. But there’s a world of difference between restaurants round the town and restaurants around Calais. The latter will have menus packed with seafood whereas Dover restaurants tend to have menus similar to anywhere else in the country.

As for dealing with allegies, every restaurant we visited last week asked whether we had any. But I’d have to say that it’s unusual and I’ve not regularly come across the question elsewhere. That said, it may have been prompted by a very recent inquest into the death of a young woman who died after eaten a vegan sandwich which contained dairy to which she was seriously allergic.

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That is a tragic story.

Interesting about the contrast between Devon and Dorset restuarants and those in Dover.

As always, loved reading about your meals!

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