IT’S time to tuck in to some of the tasty attractions our traditional seaside towns have to offer.
Rob Crossan takes a trip to five of the best foodie coastal destinations that are serving up more than just great cod and chips.
BEST CHIPPY: Its hanging baskets and the invariably long queues make Chez Fred in Westbourne, a mile or so from Bournemouth town centre (chezfred.co.uk, open for takeaways), the standout chippy option, with its line-caught haddock and outstanding homemade fishcakes.
Even Hollywood star Jack Black, who paid a visit in 2013, declared it the best fish and chips in the world.
BORED BY THE BATTER? Some panoramic views of Bournemouth Bay stretching over to the Isle of Wight and the Purbecks are all yours if you dine at the Urban Reef (urbanreef.com, takeaway only) on Boscombe promenade.
There is fish and the wood oven is fired up for takeaway pizzas like the gorgeous “Dorset”, with house Napoli sauce, salami, fresh red chilli and mozzarella.
To venture upmarket, Arbor (arbor-restaurant.co.uk) is the most dazzling high-end option in town.
The restaurant is currently closed but it is offering to-collect versions of its afternoon tea during the pandemic.
They feature smoked salmon finger sandwiches, homemade scones and raspberry bellinis.
BEST CHIPPY: Like all the best seaside chippies, Lyme’s Fish Bar (lymesfishbar.com, open for takeaways) on narrow Coombe Street, is tucked away from the seafront.
Nearly 40 years old, it is a no-nonsense place serving up plaice, rock and skate alongside the usual suspects and, strangely, cheese and broccoli nuggets.
BORED BY THE BATTER? Tierra Kitchen (tierrakitchen.co.uk, open for take-aways on Tues-Sat lunchtimes) is that rarest of things in a British seaside town, an entirely vegetarian restaurant.
Treats include Tuscan bean casseroles and leek, pistachio and garlic paella as well as all manner of curries and samosas, plus the newly launched Lyme Bay winery Brut Reserve fizz.
For high-end seafood dishes, try Mark Hix’s Oyster And Fish House (theoysterandfishhouse.co.uk) over- looking the Jurassic coast. It is closed until May but its food truck is open outside Felicity’s Farm Shop in Morcombelake, a ten- minute drive away, on Wednesday to Saturday mornings.
Expect fine (if pricey) fishy dishes such as lobster rolls and oyster po’boys.
BEST CHIPPY: It won’t win any awards for the decor but The Swan on Stanley Street (theswanrestaurant.co.uk, open for takeaway Thurs-Sun) serves up the biggest and best portions of haddock, cod and plaice in town. The home- made steak pies are every bit as good, too.
BORED BY THE BATTER? It is closed at the moment but keep an eye on reopening dates for the Auberge Brasserie on Seabank Road (aubergebrasserie.co.uk), which has outdoor seating and serves up well-executed comfort food classics such as oven-roasted parsnip soup and black pudding bubble and squeak cake with poached egg and hollandaise.
Nearby on Lord Street, the Volare restaurant is currently closed but its adjoining deli (italianrestaurantsouthport.co.uk) is doing take-aways and delivery meals.
Don’t miss the delicious veal saltimbocca with Parma ham and sage and wine sauce.
BEST CHIPPY: The Magpie Café (magpiecafe.co.uk), though currently closed, is probably the most famous chippy in England.
But it doesn’t rest on its laurels. The queues can be epic at times but, trust us, it is worth every minute to savour their astonishingly fresh haddock, battered to perfection.
They also serve up lesser-known fish such as hake and halibut fillet, which are well worth a try.
BORED BY THE BATTER? The Star Inn The Harbour (starinntheharbour. co.uk) is a fine old maritime boozer which will be opening for outdoor dining from April 12. Breathe in the sea air and devour plates of fresh Lindisfarne oysters and roast rump of Yorkshire lamb with haggis bon bons and red cabbage.
Also shut for now, Mademoiselles Café Bistro (mademoiselles.co.uk) is a slice of Parisian heaven with furnishings that are straight out of the Moulin Rouge and a menu full of classics from across the Channel, such as the lentil ragout and coq-au-vin with a Burgundy sauce and silverskin onions. Yum!
BEST CHIPPY: Steels (steels-cornerhouse.co.uk, open for delivery and pick-up from Weds-Sun) lacks a sea view but has everything else you could ever desire from an old-school chippy.
Opened in 1946, the decor has barely changed since then. Expect Frank Sinatra on the playlist, net curtains, cosy booths and the best haddock and chips in town.
BORED BY THE BATTER? You can’t enjoy Petit Delight’s gorgeous Parisian brasserie-style interior for the moment but its gargantuan beef and ale pies and Sunday roasts are notably superior to anything else you can get in Cleethorpes at the moment, thanks to talented chef Tom Bell (petitdelight.co.uk, open for pre-order pick-ups on Sat and Sun).
Its desserts, including chocolate and marshmallow cheesecake and lemon posset, are outstanding, too, and keenly priced at just a fiver.
Just round the corner, you can wash down your feast with obscure craft ales and spirits from Message In A Bottle (miabcleethorpes.net, open for pick-up and delivery only).
Its outdoor covered bar (opening again on Sat-Sun from May) is a top-notch place to meet ale-loving locals.
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