DISH DETECTIVE: Sample the fruits of the sea at this fine marina restaurantÂ
There are those forÂ whom being presented with a seafood platter is the stuff of nightmares. They say they love fishÂ '“Â but that only goes as far as a bit of cod or salmon.Â
SoÂ venturing to a seafood restaurant may be more akin to a bushtucker trial for some.
But the menu at Loch Fyne, in Gunwharf Quays, allows you to tailor your experience with different types of fish with varying sauces, spices and sides '“ I suppose a sort of Subway for fish.Â
Set in a beautiful historic former Royal Navy buildingÂ overlooking the marina,Â you can almost see where your dinner is coming from.
The dining area is bright andÂ airy with nautical hints but not in a stripey 'Ahoy! Sailor!' way.Â Think light blues, vintage wallpaper adorned with sea creatures, and bare brick walls.
Without a doubt Loch Fyne is a perfect place for lunch on a sunny, albeit cold, day. Looking outÂ of the giant Victorian sash windows you'd be fooled into thinking it wasÂ summer.
For a Monday lunchtime it was encouragingly busy and the catch-up chatter between friends was set to a Richard Curtis movie soundtrack that made the restaurant feel relaxed and friendly.
After perusing the menus, my mother and I picked the lunch set menu which came in at Â£11.95 for two courses or Â£13.95 for three, accompanied with a side and glass of wine.
As we were both driving we sadly had to refuse a lunch-time alcoholic beverage and were slightly disappointed we were not offered any other soft drink as a replacement, but good value-for-money if you were not the designated driver for the day.
For starters I chose crispy sprat fillets with garlic aioli while mother went for butternut squash soup.Â
It was a healthy portion of sprats that had a nice crunch without being too oily but not too much that would have left you stuffed for mains.Â
Mother described her winter soup as light andÂ flavoursomeÂ with a subtle hint of heat.
Staying true to their roots, Loch Fyne offers oysters.
Their first farm was set up in 1978 and the company, which is now owned by Greene King, reiterates on its menu how important quality and sustainability remains to them.Â
With tabasco, garlic breadcrumb, or tequila and lime options to choose from, this is perhaps a bushtucker trial perfect to share with a loved-one next week.Â
The mains turned up just as quickly as the starters were taken away and proves this is a restaurant perfect for grabbing a delicious bite for lunch in less than an hour.
Loch Fyne's fish pie had me hook, line and sinker and the crunchy potato topping with a hint of cheese was quite possibly the best fish pie I have ever eaten.Â
Paired with chips and kale (life is all about balance, right?) it was a surprisinglyÂ good mix and the twice-cooked chips are the best fried potatoes I have had in a while.
Mother went for king prawn spaghetti with roasted chilli oil, lemon and garlic and she said theÂ chunky, soft prawns had just enough spice.Â
Neither of us had room for dessert but a creme brÃºlÃ©e or chocolate brownie would have been a great end to a great meal at a lovely place.Â
For those whoÂ want to bring family members who are completely adverse to fruits of the sea, there is a From the LandÂ section of the menu.
There's lots to choose from, includingÂ burgers, steaks and salads, but perhaps convince them to knock back anÂ oyster or two or try a king prawn malabar curry (Â£15.95).
There's more to seafood than cod.Â