“ Loch Fyne Oysters specialises in producing and supplying quality fresh and smoked seafood, shellfish, meat and game. „
Over the many years of learning to cook various dishes (and creating some of my own!!) I have developed a great interest in the sourcing, preparation and quality of meal I have. I particularly enjoy fish in all forms and I have found every experience at the Loch Fyne in the Bluewater shopping centre, Greenhithe in Kent to be enjoyable and of great value for the reasonable price.
Loch Fyne uses some of the freshest meats and fish I have had the pleasure to taste. As aforementioned, I particularly like fish and I must say the selection and quality are very good by any Michelin starred restaurant and at a fraction of the cost!
I like the fact you can also purchase fresh fish/seafood from the counter at the Bluewater restaurant and they are always happy to give a little tip on what you can do with it to produce flawless meals, whether hosting a dinner party, or just a nice meal with your friends/family.
The selection of the wine list is also of a good standard ranging from both old and new world wines and well known labels to ones that are little know that are worth trying!
Whether you are going out for a date, anniversary, birthday or just a random meal out - you will find Loch Fyne has a menu that will have all the options you desire from a fish-based restaurant.
One of the aspects I really treasure about Loch Fyne, is that it doesn't forget that simple is good - for example out of its many superb starters, there lies White Bait in batter with a garlic mayonaise dipping sauce. It is a simple classic and one of my personal favourites!
However, don't be fooled into thinking all you can get here is a fish on a plate with chips. Along with the standard menu - which is of excellent choice, you will often find lots of specials available. One of the mighty fine dishes available on the manu is the Goan Fish Curry. Again, this a personal favourite and well worth trying for all fish and curry lovers out there. The mix of prawns, monkfish and spices in one bowl with the curry sauce and a very well presented dome of white boiled rice on a rectangular serving dish is both attractive to look at and even better to eat!! The desserts (albeit not fish based lol) are delightful and provide a fitting end to your dinning experience
I will profess that Loch Fyne does have one down side - because it is so popular we have to queue on occasion!! Lol, but I would add that the wait is normally minimal and we are fortunate at the Bluewater restaurant to have both inside and outside seating.
Overall, I would heavily recommend at least one visit to this fin-tastic restaurant and if you enjoy the experience as much as I have over the years - I am sure you will be making it a regular haunt many years to come!
After visiting Portsmouth Historic Dockyard I had my dinner at Loch Fyne Oyster Bar & Restaurant in Portsmouth. It was the second time I have tried Loch Fyne restaurant. One year ago I tried Loch Fyne at Bluewater, Kent.
Brief information about Loch Fyne Oyster Bar & Restaurant:
Loch Fyne Oyster Bar & Restaurant is a chain restaurant that specializes in seafood and fish dishes and developed from a small, roadside stall on the banks of Loch Fyne in 2000 to a group of businesses. So far there are over 45 Loch Fyne restaurants around the UK. According to their statement the business philosophy of Loch Fyne is good food, sustainably sourced and simply presented by people who care. That means only the very best produce - farmed and fished to the highest quality and environmental standards reaches the kitchens and plates of their customers.
Location and Atmosphere:
Loch Fyne Oyster Bar & Restaurant in Portsmouth is located right in a Vulcan Building on the Canal side, the heart of Gunwharf Quays. It is a relatively small restaurant. Their tables are small, but the chairs are quite cosy. The decoration celebrates the theme of fish and the sea. The staff is smartly attired, and friendly.
What did we have:
Loch Fyne menu has a decent variety of fish and seafood dishes, vegetarian and meat dishes, as well as refreshment options. Because we both wanted to have seafood, so we spent more time to find available seafood dishes.
We each ordered a starter and a main course, as well as a glass of wine plus a bottle of water and a portion of new potatoes.
Our Main courses were: Chilled half lobster with ginger and lime dressing served with a rocket and chicory salad -£14.85 and Seafood selection - grilled salmon, sea bass and king prawn with seared scallops served with lemon parsley butter, spinach and new potatoes - £16.50.
Our starters were priced £5.75 and £6.25 separately. It was £4.45 per glass of white wine. The large bottle of still water was £3 for two glasses. A portion of new potatoes was £2.50. So for the meal we totally paid over £ 63 including 10% tip.
Because I didn't book my seat, so I was led to the bar area where I felt too crowded. I felt uncomfortable with the limited space. Next to me it was a young couple with a boy who made such noise.
We ordered our food before the young couple, but they were served earlier than us. Despite that I felt I still waited too long. In fact the restaurant was very quiet at the time.
The waitress tried to persuade us to order more by providing the wrong information. Our one main course already had new potatoes, but she suggested us to order another one. However at last we just got one portion of new potatoes but paid twice for it. Unfortunately I found the mistake when I was already at home. Also she didn't collect our empty plates on time. So I didn't think she deserved the tip of £7.
Last but not least I was not very satisfied with the food we had. The starters were in small portions. I was not impressed with them, so I even could not remember their names when I'm writing this review. They were seafood but were overcooked and too oily. Our seafood selection was surprisingly small: one salmon, one sea bass and one king prawn. We both felt being cheated for the price. However our another main course was really good. Although it was just a half lobster, but big enough for me. Having lobster was the main reason for me to visit Loch Fyne in Portsmouth. I got what I wanted.
I know seafood meals are always expensive, however I still think Loch Fyne is an over-priced restaurant considering the portion, the price and the service. I felt I didn't get value for money and personally I would not visit it again.
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I went to this restaurant for my birthday for the first time and I really enjoyed my meal there! I was warned in advance that the food was expensive, but I thought the prices were varied, catering for all pockets. I had the chilli and garlic prawns for starter which was very nice. The bread did not come with butter (despite being given a butter knife!) so I had to ask for that. I had a glass of the prosecco which was enjoyable. For the main meal, I had Moules Marineres and they were gorgeous! They were reasonably priced at £9. The dish came with bread (again no butter!) and chips. The meal was very filling and I couldn't manage dessert, but it did look tempting and again did not seem too expensive. I found the staff to be attentive, though one member of staff did seem a little grumpy. You could see into the kitchen, which was very clean, but the staff did seem to stand and talk which seemed a little unprofessional for such a restaurant! The bill came to £45 for 2 starters, 2 mains, 3 glasses of prosecco and a glass of coke.
Loch Fyne is high up on my list of my favourite restaurants.
I love the airy and relaxed atmosphere when ever we visit. Staff are always friendly and make your experience enjoyable whether its with the family or a more intimate meal with a friend or loved one.
I love that you can have a full 3 course dinner or lunch or you can simply have a bowl of mussels or a plate of oysters and a glass of wine.
Obviously its not for everyone as it is a fish restaurant, however they do have a few options if one of your group isnt so keen on fish, like goats cheese tart, pate, vegetarian pasta, salads, chicken and steak.
From when you arrive you walk past an almighty display of fresh fish and shellfish on ice to get your taste buds tingling!
The menu is well priced for the quality of the produce with starters ranging from £4-£10 and mains £8-£20. The often have a cheaper set menu choices, a fantastic specials board, which I tend to order from and kids eat free at weekends/ before 6pm and during school hols and my son loves it there.
The starters are well proportioned especially with the beautiful fresh bread you are given also so do pace yourself if having a full 3 course meal.
The main courses generally come on their own unless stated ie fish and chips, so there are side orders of vegetables, chips etc for around £2-3.
There is an option to have a platter of shellfish with a whole crab or lobster for £35-45 which gives you a spectacular tiered platter of everything fishy which is a great sharing option.
Overall, great value for money for any occasion
Both myself and my husband are regulars at the loch fyne restaurant and are incredibly impressed with it and the whole chain in fact, with beautiful food, an elegant atmousphere and detail to attention.
The loch fyne is a chain of restaurants which focus is primarily on seafood such as oysters, prawns, shrimps, haddock, cod, kippers, sardines, then down to steak and vegetarian options also. Each dish is exquisitely presented on white platters and crisp crockery, with a selection of breads and various side dishes to go with it. Upon arrival at the loch fyne many of the restaurants will have their own car park therefore parking isnt usually a problem however after visiting a few I have noticed that some dont as they are on high streets so make sure you find parking to suit beforehand.
On arrival into the restaurant you will be allocated seating to eat or a bar place to have a drink whilst waiting and all staff are very particular and prompt. The menu is of high quality and delicious foods with starters ranging from £4.50 - £7. The mains £9 - £18 and then desserts for about £3 - 4 dependant on the specials board.
Starters are good in size so make sure you are hungry enough to have one and bread is offered from the beginning, fresh and with butter. Beautiful starters I have eaten here and never had one complaint even down to the fried whitebait in subtle thin moist batter and a beautiful lemon mayo. All of the starters are fish and seafood based apart from a goats cheese tart which is lovely.
The mains are good sized portions and offer a variety diverting from the main fish line with steak, duck, risotto and pasta however once again mains are dominated with fish as it is of course a fish restaurant.
The shellfish platters are an absolute must for anyone who loves hot and cold shellfish and items such as oysters and lobster as well as squid which generally is not to everyones cup of tea. Its cheap though, for the portions you get the price of £30 is very reasonable indeed and comes with bread and can come with either crab or lobster, both of which are huge and lovely. A perfect dinner or lunch for any couple.
An excellent scheme that the loch do is for kids to eat free at weekends and in half term holidays up until 6pm at night. This is perfect as albiet other restaurants offer this or great kids deals you can be sure that your child is eating fresh, healthy produce from here which they should love.
Offering accomodation with a cheap based hotel also the loch fyne is a perfect place to stay for a weekend away and you only have to walk down the stairs for the exquisite food. They also offer gift vouchers which I have bought many a time for family and freinds as gifts which is perfect and a take away service.
The loch fyne has its own fish counter where fish can be purchased from which compete with supermarket prices but are of incredibly high quality and standard being from organic farms and freedom food registered this has to be the safeest place to buy any seafood with the knowledge of its history and quality.
Loch Fyne is a nationwide chain of seafood restaurants, originally from Scotland it has become an institution in the UK. We recently visited the venue in Chelmsford for an evening and found it to be one of the better restaurants in town.
Apparently the restaurant originated from a fresh fish stall on the banks of Loch Fyne and it follows the ethics of freshness and sustainability. There are 47 branches throughout the Uk and as you would expect they serve fresh seafood.
The design of the restaurant is fairly simple with nice wooden tables and chairs and bland decoration, the place is fairly large and is definitely a nice place to come for a night out, you can get dressed up and feel like you are at the higher end of the chain restaurant scale.
The food is very good, we ate from the main menu but I noticed that you can have a two course lunch for £10 from a set menu, which is good value, if not a tad limited in scale, but nonetheless in the current climate its entirely welcome and a good chance to eat here without breaking the bank.
The menu involves options of smoked seafood from Scotland, we had 12 oysters which were fresh and very tasty although a tad pricey at £16, for a main course I had Moules Mariniere with fresh bread, which was fine, but being honest I have had better at Belgo's so I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped to, the sauce was tangy with a hint of fruity wine, but the mussels had a strange taste which didn't seem fresh to me. My partner had Smoked Haddock with Mash, Spinach and a Pea and Mushroom sauce, this was fresh, tasty and a nice combination, my partner enjoyed it and I wished I had something similar, the fish was perfectly cooked and the mash was very tasty.
You can have shellfish platters or a noodle or pasta meal, there is a nice variety of meals and all based around seafood. I liked the menu and the ambience, the wine menu was good and a nice contrast to the fish, the staff were knowledgeable and happy to advise on combinations, we had a nice crisp Sauvignon Blanc which was perfect with the seafood.
Overall we got change out of £60 and it was a nice evening, it wasn't the best i've had and not the worst either, i'd give it 3 out of 5 as a middle of the road restaurant with some nice flourishes.
I love fish! Lets get that out of the way to start with. Seafood is a great love of mine so Loch Fyne was an obvious choice when looking to book a meal.
I had been before many years ago and just remembered how good it was, but wanted to go again. As my girlfriend had never been before, i booked a table for a Friday night at the Leeds restaurant and away we went.
As soon as we arrived, the staff were pleasant and helpful and got us seated at our table quickly. Its worth pointing out that the Loch Fyne in Leeds is a fantastic place to sit and eat. The restaurant is located in the Old Post Office building at the big square opposite Leeds Train station and the Queens Court Hotel. Its a very nice area outside, and the outdoor seating is clean, tidy and well looked after.
Due to the time of year though, we were sat inside. Walking past a big chiller full of fresh shellfish got me very hungry, and it looked amazing.
Drinks were served quickly, our waiter was very helpful and chatty and the restaurant, while fairly busy, was calm and chilled.
Im not sure if its just me, but restaurant bread always tastes really good, and i really enjoyed it here. Although i tried to wait to have it with my starter.
The menu in all Loch Fyne Restaurants is very large, with a great choice of seafood. Everything is very fresh, and you can tell that with the look and smell of everything available.
If youre not a lover of seafood, however, your choices are limited. They do offer a selection of meals, but it is not extensive. This is to be understood in a seafood restaurant however!
It may be a nationwide thing, but our Loch Fyne has also started serving battered fish and chips to take away. I have not had it before, but have seen it being made and it looks fantastic, we will definitely be trying it soon.
We also spotted the childrens menu, and some of the stuff looked really good for kids!
For starters we had Fresh smoked salmon and some seafood chowder. Both were fantastic. We followed this up with a fishermans pie and some lemon and chilli king prawns. Again, i could not fault them.
I did think that the portion size for the king prawns was quite small, however, they were massive and it soon filled me up. Especially with all the chips they gave me on the side!
That was it, along with my beer, we were stuffed. Until the dessert board appeared. Im a sucker for bread and butter pudding, so i had to order it. Loved it!
OVerall the bill was very reasonable, you can probably expect anything from around £20 to £40 a head. For a good meal with some drinks, i dont think this is asking too much.
My girlfriend was very impressed with everything having not been before. My only regret is not having much change and having to leave a very small tip. The waiter we had was fantastic, so i felt very guilty!
The downsides are obviously the lack of choice if you are not a seafood fan, and i know a slightly higher than average cost will put some people off. They do quite often run out of things too, but this is to be expected with a limited number of everything being shipped in fresh daily.
Will definitely be back to the great Leeds restaurant, and will always consider others if we have options when we are out of the city!
I have eaten at Loch Fyne restaurants in Farnham, Guildford, Ascot, Beaconsfield, St Albans and possibly somewhere else. They have all been similarly decorated in a fairly rustic fashion with wooden tables and chairs, slate floors and I think all have had an impressive ice filled fresh seafood display centrally situated which looks like a fishmongers counter - although I have no idea if you can buy fresh fish to take away from Loch Fyne, I don't think so though.
The menu is almost entirely fish based and it probably isn't worth visiting if you don't eat seafood and fish. The menu is fairly extensive but there are usually at least 4 starters and 5 or so mains also on a specials menu. The seafood platter for 2 is an impressive selection of seafood including mussels, crab claws, whelks etc. served in a ice crystal filled silver bowl. On a number of occasions one or more of us has played safe and gone for the beer battered fish and chips which comes in at around £10 and is very good.
The childrens menu is fairly safe but good value and the chain is welcoming to children with high chairs available and friendly staff. For some time now the website has had downloadable vouchers to give £10 off a meal for two which also helps the budget for eating out. Starters are about £6.00 to £7.00 each and mains up to £19 or so. My only real bugbear is that some of the main courses do lack side dishes and you have to pay for potatoes or vegetables on top - which I hate doing, I wish they would add them and include in the price of the meal. Desserts are about the same price as the starters.
Service has always been pretty good at Loch Fyne with attentive and presentable staff. On our last visit we had cause to complain about the cheese platter (it had clearly been left out too long) and the manager without hesitation took all the desserts off the bill. The Loch Fyne brand seems to have grown rapidly so I hope it continues to offer the same quality of food and service across the chain.
I'm not a fish eater at all - i can't even stomach fish fingers - but my girlfriend loves fish and loves to eat regularly at Loch Fyne. Luckily they do cater for meat eaters too and when i first went i have sausages with mash and gravy which were delicious although they were about £!1 which is pretty steep for sausages.
After i returned after this i then tried the steak (which hadn't been available the time beforehand). This again was really good although you have to add any side orders as it does not come with anything. This bumped the price up to about £22 which is quite a lot for one meal.
I haven't been back for a while although my girlfriend has and she noticed that they now only serve the steak as an option for meat eaters with no other alternatives other than vegetarian dishes which is a shame. However is now apparently comes served with chips so i guess it will be slightly more economical!
Overall this is not somewhere i would choose to go but i can scrape by and just about enjoy it if i have to!
I have been to Loch Fyne a number of times - mainly to the one in Chelmsford but once also to the one in Bluewater. I have had varied experiences and despite two terrible ones i would say this is one of my favourite restaurants.
Loch Fyne started with one restaurant in Scotland on the banks of the Loch Fyne and although i have never visited, my dad has and assures me it's very picturesque! They aim to make sure all their fish meets their high standards as well as maintaning their ethics choosing the most environmentally friendly ways to source their fish.
You can even order fish directly from them to your home if you want to impress friends at a dinner party or if you want to cheat their restaurants have a take away service. You can find a ten pound off voucher when you purchase two main courses on their website although it can take up to a day to arrive in your email box.
They also have a light menu available where you can get a starter, main course, glass of wine and a side for around £12 although the menu is limited as would be expected.
The Chelmsford branch that i regularly visit is tucked away next to the river with a fantastic outside area which is decked. The interior is fresh and inviting with large wooden tables and is very spacious. The staff are exceptionally friendly particularly the greeter sarah who always ensures your table is in a position you would like and genuninely seems to have the time to talk to you even when busy. The staff and waiters are all poilte and friendly and the service is brilliant - if sometimes a little slow during peak times.
The menu is hugely varied on the fish front although if you don't eat fish (like my partner) or you are a vegetarian the choices are severely limited. As i say i have had a number of experiences and two of them were bad. I will start with these first as it's best to end on a high note......
My first bad experience was at the Bluewater branch of Loch Fyne. We ordered mussels to share and i had bream as a main course. They were both absolutely delicious, but around three hours later driving down the a12 i had to pull over to be sick, and after that was violently sick for a whole evening which was a real shame as it was my friend's 30th birthday! I put it down to the mussels although the other two people i shared the bowl with were absolutely fine. Then i went with a friend a few weeks later and we shared the loch fyne platter. This was a real experience for me as i had never had oysters before or even peeled my own prawns. I really enjoyed it and even tried a couple of the mussels although i must say i didn't enjoy them the way i had before. After this i decided to steer clear of mussels as it really made me feel ill eating them. I then went with my dad and his business partner a few weeks later and decided to have the salmon in whisky and shellfish sauce. This sauce had mussels in but i decided to only eat one. The salmon was absolutely perfect and you couldn't fault it at all. Unfortunately i decided to meet my partner at a bar about an hour later and within minutes i was in the toilet being sick and by the time i was home it was coming from both ends (sorry!). I was violently ill again to the extreme that i had to actually sleep on the bathroom floor. Since then i have completely avoided mussels and all shellfish and haven't had any trouble. Everytime i have a meal there it's delicious.
As a starter i would recommend the Loch Fyne ashet (you can also have this as a main course) or the salmon with wasabi and soy sauce or the goats cheese tart. Before the starter they always bring out some fresh bread and butter so if you aren't too hungry you might not need starters. As for mains the lobster is delicious but very expensive and quite messy and fiddly to eat. The fishcakes are always fab as is the fish pie and the smoked haddock on mash is delicious if you want something more filling. On my last visit i tried the salmon from the grill and it was probably the best i've ever had. My boyfriend has had steak there a couple of times and been very impressed.
As i say it's all a bit more expensive than you might pay in other restaurants - i would say a two course meal with wine can be anything from £30 a head to £60 a head depending on what you order.
One more thing is that they quite often run out of things which can be frustrating but this is due to the seasons and also the fact that they source their fish in scotland.
The original Loch Fyne restaurant on the banks of Loch Fyne seems an odd place to put a restaurant. In the middle of nowhere (although I am sure the local inhabitants would disagree) you have to drive down windy roads with stunning Scottish scenery and weather to keep you company. It never occurred to me that the busy road would in fact be all prospective customers! It turns out the place isn't famous for nothing!
On arrival your met with a large wooden building right on the loch shores. Inspired with the knowledge that our food would be coming to us from literally metres away we excitedly entered the front door only to be met by a large group of queuing customers. After waiting and the queue not receding I sought out a waitress who told us the wait was an hour and half, and this at 3pm on a Friday! We put our names down and went for a walk, we'd come all this way to try it and nothing was going to stop it.
The food was well worth the wait. Our server was fantastic and full of smiles, eager to recommend her favourites and delighted we were brave enough to try the oysters. For our starter we had 6 plain oysters knocked back with a dribble of fresh lemon juice. The presentation was fabulous, rustic and simple in a nice bowl and packed with ice. But the best bit was the bread! Onion wholemeal ciabatta, an absolute delight warm and generous portions, sadly not made on the premises.
For our mains my partner had crab thermidor which he told me was excellent, I couldn't get in there to try any so it must have been! I had a large pot of mussels, fresh and delicious and of course mopped up the sauce with bread and butter pudding.
In summary the food was great and I recommend a visit if you up that way but wouldn't necessarily make a special trip unless you're an oyster addict! The staff made the visit memorable and genuinely appreciated that we enjoyed our meal. I don't really like franchises so it was nice to come to the place where it all started.
I must admit that we approached eating at the Loch Fyne outlet in Midhurst with a degree of trepidation. We'd heard more than one report from colleagues and friends of poor service and average to dreadful food. One group dining there at Christmas reported receiving undercooked main courses for which they had waited over an hour. They evidently demanded, and received, a full refund on their meal - and so they should. It's fairly common knowledge in the area that the restaurant went through a "troubled" period when they first opened in 2007. But as they say, you tell an average of ten people about a bad experience, so the rumours may have been blown out of proportion and we needed to make our own minds up (a kind of "the proof of the pudding is in the eating" scenario!). An added incentive of a £20.00 discount voucher swung the decision to try the restaurant for ourselves, and we duly booked a table for a Thursday evening in February.
For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Loch Fyne is a chain of restaurants serving seafood and fish. I'd describe the chain as fairly upmarket - with prices to match. Main courses are in the £12.00 to £18.00 region (with vegetables, potatoes, salad being an extra charge) and starters at the £5.00 to £8.00 mark.
~*~ DÉCOR & AMBIANCE ~*~
Our first impressions were good. The restaurant is located off the main road through the town of Midhurst, but it's set back from the road a little. Free parking is to be had in the car park just off North Street, and it's literally a minute's walk to the front door of Loch Fyne. The restaurant is housed in a charming period looking building with attractive blown glass windows.
Inside, the décor is all very modern and light. Slate flooring, oak style tables / chairs and creamy coloured walls. The crockery, cutlery and glassware were all gleaming and sparkling - making the place look very welcoming. As you enter, there are large glass fronted refrigerated displays of fish and seafood. These are all very attractive to look at and give you a very good idea of what's on the menu. Seafood and fish always make an artful and colourful display if they're done well, and this place was no exception (but sadly nowhere near the standards you see in the restaurants that throng the Rue de Bouchers in Brussels - they really have raised fish and seafood displays to a stunning artform).
We were welcomed very nicely by the waiting staff and shown to a good sized oak table for four towards the back of the restaurant. The back of the restaurant has huge floor to ceiling windows, which evidently offer stunning views over the River Rother and Cowdray Ruins in the daylight, Sadly, this being a cold and dark winter's evening in February, this was totally wasted on us. However, I understand that there is also a terraced garden to the back of the restaurant, which must be a lovely place to sit and eat of a summer's evening. The terraced area seats up to 32 covers and you can have a drink or a full meal out there, and look across to the ruins beyond. Definitely one I'd like to go back to when the weather improves I'd say.
~*~ MENU ~*~
Loch Fyne evidently started out around 30 years ago with a small oyster shack on the shores of Loch Fyne in the West Highlands of Scotland. From their humble origins the chain has grown to nearly 50 or so outlets scattered throughout the UK (you can find your nearest venue at www.lochfyne.com, and you can also download the whole menu if you'd like to see more of what they have on offer). Despite their size, the chain prides itself on still offering fresh oysters and mussels sourced from the shores of Loch Fyne as they did 30 years or so go.
Similarly, they are very committed to offering only ethically sourced fish and seafood. The blurb from their website states that they "do not source fish from deep sea trawlers or from endangered stocks and they are dedicated to the protection of our seas, maritime communities and all forms of marine life".
If you're a lover of either fish or seafood, then you're in the right place, as Loch Fyne offer a fine selection of both. Starters range from a choice of smoked salmon, mussels, oysters, lobster bisque, kippers, smoked haddock chowder plus others. Main course choices offer sea bass, salmon, bream, halibut, haddock, smoked fish pie, scallops, king prawns and so on. If you really want to push the boat out, you can partake of a whole (£30.00!) or half lobster served with truffle mayonnaise or you can plump for a Loch Fyne Platter (shellfish of the day with extra lobster or crab). Both these options are a delight to look at, but very expensive (not to mention fiddly and very hard work to eat!).
Rest assured, that there are a couple of non-fishy options available should you not be all that keen on ocean fodder -for starters there is a game terrine or a mushroom and spinach tart, and for mains there is a choice of lamb, duck or steak. Similarly, vegetarian non-fish eaters are catered for as well with items marked with an asterisk on the menu.
Added to the choices from the main menu, there is also a blackboard with some daily specials to choose from as well.
~*~ STARTERS ~*~
Having dined at a Loch Fyne outlet before (lunch in the Barnet one about five years ago), I had a good idea what to expect menu wise. I decided to have the platter of smoked salmon (£7.00), which consisted of Bradan Orach (traditionally strongly smoked salmon) and Bradan Rost (kiln roasted smoked salmon). I enjoyed both immensely, but my palate was not discerning enough to differentiate between them! My partner chose the Lobster Bisque (£6.00), which he pronounced delicious - extremely rich and suffused with flavour. Our dining companions both chose the daily special off the blackboard, which was smoked salmon pâté served with oat cakes (£5.00). Having had this before, I wasn't that keen to try it again. Serving pâté with oat cakes is a nice idea in theory, but I find oat cakes are rather boring in flavour and there are never quite enough of them to use up all the pâté. Indeed, both who chose this starter had loads of the pâté left in the ramekin on their plates long after their oat cakes had been finished off. However, the pâté itself was very rich in flavour, so perhaps you're really not supposed to scoff a whole ramekin's worth in one sitting.
~*~ MAIN COURSES ~*~
I decided to have a non-fishy dish for my main course and plumped for the Gressingham duck breast (£12.50). This came served in a large bowl sitting on a bed of honey roasted parsnips and a red wine sauce. It was extremely tasty, with the duck breast skin being slightly crispy and a perfect accompaniment to the moist meat underneath. The duck was served slightly pink, so it retained all of its juices and flavours. My partner chose the Bradan Rost (kiln roasted salmon) which was char-grilled and served with a shellfish, mushroom and whisky sauce (£13.00). He thoroughly enjoyed both the salmon and the accompanying sauce, which was creamy with just a tiny hint of smokiness from the whisky added to it. Our dining companions both chose the grilled whole Sea Bass served with rosemary and herb butter and new potatoes (£14.00). Both fish were beautifully cooked and presented with the flakes falling easily away from the bone.
However, the area in which I feel that Loch Fyne fell down, was the fact that their main courses do not come served with much in the way of accompaniments. My duck was served on a small bed of parsnips (3 or 4), but that was it. I paid extra to have some chips with mine, but I really did resent paying an extra £2.00 for them. When you are paying £12.50 for a main course, I really do think that potatoes and a selection of vegetables or salad should be included in the price. After all, it costs the restaurant hardly anything in additional costs to throw a few spuds or vegetables onto your plate. My partner's dinner came with nothing at all apart from the salmon, so he paid £2.00 for a portion of new potatoes. Our dining companions had new potatoes included in the price of their main course, but this consisted of three very small new potatoes apiece. Grumbling aside, the food was all beautifully presented and very tasty...just a tad on the expensive side once you have to pay extra for potatoes, vegetables or salad.
~*~ DESSERTS ~*~
The dessert choice was chalked up on a blackboard, and they all sounded extremely tempting. So tempting, in fact, that 3 out of 4 of us decided to have a pudding. I choose the Dark Chocolate Torte, which was extremely rich and delicious. The two others choose Crème Brûlée, and both pronounced it delicious. The dessert portions were all extremely generous and came served with a choice of vanilla ice cream or double cream. Other choices consisted of a Sticky Toffee Pudding, various ice-creams or sorbets and some kind of apple based tart.
~*~ SERVICE ~*~
Having heard several horror stories of poor service and long waits for food, we were pleasantly surprised by the efficiency and speed of service. All the waiting staff were extremely proficient and attentive and we wanted for nothing. From being seated and offered bread and butter, to paying our bill and leaving, all the serving staff were very friendly, welcoming and efficient. Full marks to them on this score.
~*~ AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT ~*~
On the whole, we enjoyed our evening at Loch Fyne in Midhurst. However, there were a couple of areas that weren't so good. For example, the restaurant was extremely noisy and it was difficult to have a decent conversation with anyone seated opposite you. The restaurant was very busy, being at least 90% full, but the noise levels were excessive. A combination of low ceilings and uncarpeted flooring meant that the noise was rather magnified and simple conversation extremely hard work.
The second area of contention was the ladies toilet. Firstly, for a venue of this size and busyness, I'm not at all sure that one toilet is adequate to cope with the demand. Added to which, the toilet was a real mess with paper towels strewn all over the floor and the basin could have done with a good wipe. Added to that, the flush mechanism on the WC was faulty, and if and when it did work it took an age to clear. With a restaurant that can seat what must be at least 100+ covers (inside and out), I believe they need to rethink their plumbing arrangements!
~*~ RECOMMENDATION ~*~
All in all, we enjoyed our meal at Loch Fyne. The service was most attentive and efficient, and the ambiance welcoming. With a bottle of white wine and one of mineral water, our bill for four came to just over £100.00 (reduced to a more acceptable £80.00 once they'd applied our £20.00 discount voucher) Despite our grumblings over paying extra for potatoes, vegetables and salad, the food was very good indeed. However, Loch Fyne isn't somewhere I'd choose to dine regularly, simply because I feel I can find better value for money elsewhere locally. I don't mind paying £12 to £14 for a main course, but I really expect it to include at least a salad garnish or a bouquet of vegetables and/or a few potatoes. I may well return to the Midhurst branch one fyne day (sorry!), and take advantage of the warmer weather by having lunch or dinner in their outside terrace area and enjoy the views across to Cowdray Ruins.
Recommended...but for special occasions only. Fyne but expensive dining....
~*~ OTHER STUFF ~*~
A reservation is recommended if you wish to dine at a Loch Fyne, as this chain is popular. When we dined at the Midhurst one on a Thursday evening, the restaurant was at least 90% full. The clientele seemed to be mostly made up of silver foxes (a nice way of describing affluent OAP's!), all tucking into huge lobsters or crabs. Perhaps the credit crunch hasn't yet hit Midhurst and their hedge funds and/or index linked pensions are all still virtually intact...
Further details are at:-
Loch Fyne Restuarants Ltd
175 Hampton Road
The restaurants are open seven days a week and take all the major credit cards. The website gives the opening hours for your local outlet.
Christmas 2008 had been a bit of a miserable one for me, as I had woken up on Christmas Eve with a stomach bug of some kind and fasted the whole day. We had been invited to my brother's on Christmas Day, but as my temperature rose I obviously was in no fit state to go, so I stayed at home and ate toast and Marmite. It was my birthday two weeks later, and my elder son wanted to take me out to make up for Christmas. Neither of us could go on the day itself, but he asked me to meet him in Gunwharf Quays the following Saturday evening. I thought we would go to Cafe Rouge as I had a voucher to use there, but he took my arm and led me a little further on, admitting that he had reserved a table at Loch Fyne as a surprise. We went in and I was a little confused when he told the waiter that he had a reservation but that he could see the other people at the table. I followed him and was taken aback to see his partner sitting there, as I had been told he was working that night. A broad pillar obstructed my view of the other side of the table, but as I went past it I had another surprise: my brother and his wife were there too! It seems they had hatched the plot together on Christmas day. My younger son had been invited as well, but he lives in Bristol and had been unable to make it.
I sat at the head of the table - unusually for me, but had I sat at the other end I would have had my back to the double glass back doors. It was a very cold evening - the only Premiership match cancelled that day because of an icy pitch was the one at Fratton Park - and I didn't want to find myself in a draughty seat. If you have a table by a wall you will have hooks for your coats, but we put ours round our chairs. We had two small pine tables, a little the worse for wear, pushed together. There was already a basket of bread slices and a not overgenerous serving of butter on the table. The paper place mats show photos of and give information about Loch Fyne's fishermen - it's good to see they get some recognition.
I immediately liked the feel of the place itself. Situated in the imposing Vulcan Building on the Canalside, the restaurant has a high ceiling with wooden beams painted white from which spotlights together with small lamps in wall brackets create a soft lighting. The whole of the back wall is in red brick. The theme of fish and the sea runs through a series of paintings on the walls. There is a bar behind which the collection of wines is displayed, and there is also a counter where you can see elaborate seafood dishes being assembled. As I had my back to this I probably missed out on a few sights. It is also possible to see into the kitchen from some tables, so they obviously give the impression that they have nothing to hide. I believe there was music playing, but the place was busy and there was a constant buzz of conversation that shut out anything else. It was actually at times difficult to hear what the waiting staff were saying unless they were standing right next to you.
My brother, his wife and my son's partner had already ordered drinks, and the wine list was brought for my son and myself. I chose a glass of Chateau les Arromans Bordeaux wine at £4 from the 'Soft and Smooth' section - my son's partner had already chosen the same and recommended it. My son decided he would prefer something from the 'Vibrant and Fruity' section and ordered a glass of Spanish Rioja Bodegas Larchago at £6. Later during the meal we ordered a bottle of this which was £19 - I didn't sample it myself.
We then began to have a look at the menu. Starters are priced from £5 to £6.50 and are mostly fish based, for example lobster bisque or a pair of kippers. You could, however, opt for game terrine with shallot marmalade; for vegetarians there is only a wild mushroom, spinach and goat's cheese tart.
We decided to go straight into the main course. The waiter had told us that the beef and venison casserole was no longer available, but we were more interested in fish so that didn't matter. There are just three meat dishes on the main menu, and one vegetarian option which is a casserole of lentils, chickpeas and sweet potato (£9). Duck breast was on the specials board along with seafood spaghetti. If you feel like splashing out, you can go for a whole lobster served cold with truffle mayonnaise and it will set you back £30. My brother and his wife both chose pan-fried fillets of bream with rocket pesto and roasted garlic mash at £13. My son came out strongly in favour of Loch Fyne ashet, consisting of Bradan Rost (kiln-roasted salmon), and Bradan Orach, classic smoked organic salmon at £12. (This is also available as a starter for £7). My son's partner and I both went for chargrilled Bradan Rost with a shellfish, mushroom and whisky sauce at £13. When we came to order, however, the waiter said that they had run out of bream and suggested grilled whole sea bass with new potatoes and rosemary and herb butter (£14) as the nearest alternative. My brother wasn't convinced and decided instead on poached smoked haddock with mash, spinach, pea and wholegrain mustard sauce at £11. My sister-in-law did want the sea bass but asked if it was possible to have it filleted. The waiter replied that the sea bass were usually scored on arrival ready for grilling, but that if there were any that hadn't been scored they would fillet one for her. Three of our main courses were listed without accompaniments, so we ordered a portion of mash and two of seasonal vegetables (leeks, cabbage and peas) at £2 per portion. Other side orders include chips, new potatoes or salad.
We probably waited about fifteen minutes for our main courses to arrive. The sea bass was not filleted, but I think that was the only disappointment. Our chargilled salmon was served with mussels: it was only the second time I had ever had them, and my son's partner had never had them before. No fingerbowls were forthcoming so my sister-in-law (who used to be in the catering business) asked for one on our behalf. It wasn't long before my son was declaring that his was the best salmon he had ever tasted, and I think I would have to agree. I couldn't honestly taste the whisky in the sauce but I didn't mind as it was of a beautiful creamy consistency but still quite light. The mushrooms were very thinly sliced. Although we had just one portion of mash between three of us, I certainly didn't feel that I could have eaten more. My brother seemed quite happy with his smoked haddock and began reminiscing about how, forty-odd years ago, our mum used to cook it for his tea on a Saturday afternoon and it would cheer him up when he came home from Fratton Park after watching Pompey lose. (I'm sure I had mine for breakfast in those days.) I was the last to finish eating, and as soon as I put my knife and fork down the waiters were there to collect the plates. They had come while we were eating to ask if everything was to our liking.
Not having had starters, we all felt that we had some room left. The home-made desserts were listed on a blackboard which the waiter brought over and held up for us. When we appeared to be indecisive, he propped it up at the end of the table where there was an empty seat, so that we could take our time. The apple crumble was by that time off but was replaced by apple tarte tatin with caramel sauce (£4.50). I thought the selection was fairly predictable, including as it did crème brulee with shortbread, chocolate pudding with pineapple compote, sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce, and ice cream or sorbet. My brother quickly decided on the crème brulee (£3.50) whilst my sister-in-law and I were definitely in favour of the tarte tatin. I thought my son and his partner would choose, as they usually do, the chocolate pudding, but they surprised me and went for the sticky toffee one, which was also £3.50. The waiter particularly asked them what accompaniment they would like and they both picked ice cream. When the waitress brought the desserts my sister-in-law was very quick to notice that two of them had been served with custard, so back they went and the mistake was soon rectified. I may have thought the selection of desserts a little unimaginative, but my tarte tatin was absolutely gorgeous. It was just sweet enough and beautifully warm. I didn't think the scoop of ice cream would be welcome on such a cold evening, but it was tempered by the warmth of the tart and complemented it perfectly. Everyone else enjoyed their puddings and desserts too.
By the time we had finished eating I think the restaurant was completely full. We declined the offer of coffee, but there was no suggestion that we should vacate our table in any hurry. The bill came to £127.50 - had our group been larger, ten per cent service charge would have been added, but as we were fewer than six, we were able to add a tip as we thought fit. We did in fact add almost exactly ten per cent and this was definitely deserved as the service was excellent.
I should mention that the toilets are reached by a number of spiral steps, but there are disabled facilities on the ground floor.
I returned to Loch Fyne with a friend at 6.30pm on a Wednesday evening later in January as they were offering two courses (starter and main course) plus a glass of house wine for £12. The offer was available between noon and 7pm and sounded like excellent value. We were seated at a table by a window and were able to hang our coats up this time. Although white wine would have been a better choice with fish, we both prefer red wine and ordered a glass each. For starters my friend chose mussels steamed with white wine and garlic, whilst I had the Bradan Rost salmon fish cake with chilli sauce and rocket. The other options were soup of the day (leek and potato) or game terrine with apricot chutney. For the main course we both ordered pan-fried fillet of bream with braised fennel. One side order was included for each main course, so we ordered one of mash and one mixed vegetables so that we could share them. The other main courses on the special menu were goat's cheese, wild mushroom and spinach tart, fillet of salmon with onion marmalade, and rump steak which had a supplement of £2.
We did not have to wait long for either course to be served, and the food was once again a delight. I wouldn't say I enjoyed the bream quite as much as the salmon I had had on my first visit, but that had been something extra special. We both felt that the offer was extremely good value - the mussel starter was certainly a generous serving - but this perhaps encouraged us to indulge in a dessert as well. The waitress gave us such a tantalisingly descriptive account of the chocolate pudding that my friend couldn't resist it, whereas I decided to try the apple crumble with ice cream that had not been available on my first visit. The chocolate pudding looked amazing with a crisp, cracked surface covering a gooey centre and a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream served in a separate tiny bowl. I was, however, quite content with my apple crumble and vanilla ice cream which was delicious and helped me to resist the offer to taste the chocolate sponge.
The service was again very friendly and efficient on this occasion, although no-one came to ask us if everything was to our satisfaction during the main course. There was similarly no attempt to make us feel that we should rush to leave once we had finished. Our bill came to £32.50, as the chocolate pudding was £4.50 and the apple crumble a very reasonable £4.
This is obviously a restaurant for lovers of fish and seafood, although there are a few other options on the menu. The only other speciality fish restaurant I know of in Portsmouth is Lemon Sole, and although this is mentioned in the Michelin Guide, I would say that Loch Fyne stands head and shoulders above it. There were people of all ages there that Saturday evening, including a few children. The fact that several of the dishes were no longer available is a sign of the restaurant's popularity. Even on the Wednesday evening the restaurant quickly became busy after 7pm, although the special offer was not available after that time. My first visit there definitely made up for my miserable Christmas. I thoroughly recommend Loch Fyne to anyone who enjoys seafood.
Loch Fyne Portsmouth
Unit 2 Vulcan Buildings
Tel. 023 9277 8060
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am - 10pm
Saturday 9am - 10.30pm
Sunday 10am - 10pm
Also likely to be posted on Ciao (as denella).
Where i visited:
Loch Fyne Shrewsbury, Market Street, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 1LG
Very clean looking. the furnishings were pine withspotlighting over each table. I particularly liked seeing the array of seafood displayed before the chefs counter as well as watching the chef prepare all the food in house.
All staff were in uniform wiith name tags. They were very helpful letting us taste our wine and bring extra bread. They did ask us if we were enjoying our meal a few too many times, which is a bit off putting but that were all very friendly about it.
What i Ordered and cost:
I went with my boyfriend and together we ordered:
1 Hot and cold shellfish platter with crab £34
1 bottle of Rose wine £14.99
2 Lemon Sorbet £7
In all not too expensive for such a fabulous meal for two.
Quality of food:
We were blown away when the platter arrived, it came on a three tiered stand, so much that we could hardly see each other. The top teir contained a pot of steaming mussels in a white wine sauce which was really yummy. The next two teirs contained a variety of shellfish; crab, oysters, crayfish, king Prawns, Langoustines, scallops all of which was gorgeous. The tools provided to eat them with was another matter but it was very enjoyable trying to work it out (i think at one point my boyfriend had cryfish on his shoulder). We had lemon Sorbet for dessert as we were feeling really full and needed something refreshing.
Even though it was good seeing the chef prepare the food, we were seated a little to close to the front which was a bit distracting. Other than that the resturant was absoulty packed and thats the sign of a good resturant. I really enoyed the evening.
Ive only visited the Shrewsbury resturant but will look out for another as i really loved the food and night there.
I have visited the Bristol, Bath and Poole Loch Fyne restaurants. On each occasion we had moule mariniere and each time it tasted better.
The ambience of the restaurant was always completely different but never unpleasant. The staff were always available for our every need and never ceased to be both helpful and chatty.
The menu choice is always the same at each restaurant, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the quality is spared.
The potential of the Loch Fyne brand is considerable and the public would benefit and discover new eating delights if new outlets were opened.
Some would argue that the price of the food in Loch Fyne is a little too much, however, for the quality you receive it is utterly reasonable.
Based on our experience on these restaurants, we have recommended it to other food lovers, both young and old although a love of seafood in particular is obviously needed!
Restaurant locations in