Restaurant review: Loch Fyne St Albans
PUBLISHED: 11:50 04 December 2014
Tucked away on what could easily be called restaurant row in the city is the seafood and fish lovers haven Loch Fyne St Albans.
But it’s not all aquatic eats and samphire at the Verulam Road eatery, they also offer food from ‘the land’, which our very diligent waiter Sam pointed out to us, seeing as it was Sunday, the traditional day or roasting meat.
Having never been to Loch Fyne we decided it would be blasphemy not to go full-on fish, so we carefully selected dishes that could give us a flavour of everything available under the sea.
If you haven’t already tried an oyster, then be sure to. Sold in one, six or dozen, they are presented with lemon and Tabasco sauce.
Once you get over the fear of it getting stuck in your throat, or maybe that’s just a personal fear only I possess, you’re in for a treat. They can be chewed as well, we were told, to release even more of their flavour; sharp, salty but with a subtle sweetness. Oysters are the pleasurable pawns on the chess board menu of Loch Fyne, and should definitely be played out before making a move on a main course.
As I am far too curious for my own good, this appetiser wasn’t enough, so we selected two starter dishes as well; chilli and garlic king prawns pan fried in lemon oil with granary bread, and haggis and seared Scottish scallops with caramelised pear and a lemon beurre blanc.
The prawns were perfectly cooked and were doused in a deliciously fiery yet buttery sauce which was set off with citrus flavours and perfect to dip and soak a chunk of bread in.
The haggis in comparison was hearty and paired extremely well with the scallops.
Our waiter recommended a french wine from the Languedoc region to accompany our choices, the Picpoul De Pinet, which was bursting with flavour and possessed notes of passion fruit and citrus.
For the main event we took advantage of the flexible fish bar, which allows any guest to play chef/dish-creator for the evening. This DIY option means diners can chose which fish they would like, what sauce to accompany it, how it should be cooked and what sides they would like with it.
I loved the freedom this option provided, and happily ordered farmed pan-fried sea bass with chilli and coriander butter, with samphire, and twice-Cooked British Potato Chips as sides.
After some cheeky persuasion from a waiter, I also added half a lobster to my plate, while my guest went for the seasonal whole fish, which was pan-fried pollock with chilli and coriander butter, samphire, and sautéed potatoes - along with a crab claw.
After browsing the dessert menu we found it extremely difficult not to finish on sugary high note, and settled on sharing a traditional treacle and ‘Belhaven Black’ tart served with a pecan and toffee sauce, crushed Scottish table and vanilla ice cream, and also a passion fruit cheesecake with passion fruit and mango sorbet.
For more information visit www.lochfyneseafoodandgrill.co.uk/locations/st-albans