Prawns, squid, overdone mussels and a flavourless ramen - it wasn't all Fyne in the Loch
When it comes to food, I favour, to use Loch Fyne parlance, 'from the land' over 'from the sea'.
But whenever I visit what is a lovely little place on the outskirts of Elton, I stick with the “when in Rome” philosophy and go for what they do best.
In the past that has worked out just fine. This time, however, it was something of a mixed bag.
Whenever I visit, there is something quite appealing, pulling up on the huge gravelled car park, confronted with the converted former dairy buildings.
I love the quaint counter, fashioned out of the side of a boat, and the rustic but stylish decor - lots of wood and images of boats and fish on the walls.
To be fair things got off to a good start with lots to catch the eye on the starters - we went a la carte although there is a great value set menu I have used and enjoyed previously.
Donna had three oysters (£6.25) - it is not that often you see them available so it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
The beetroot and horseradish and tequila and lime went down very well, all fresh and tasty, but you just can’t beat one served as nature intended.
I was enticed by the very thought of a smoked haddock scotch egg (£6.25) and it duly delivered. The coating was golden and packed a crunch, with a nice flavour of its own. The filling was subtle rather than full-on smoked haddock, which I liked, and the true test - a runny yolk - was passed with flying colours. It came on a tasty celeraic remoulade - crisp and creamy.
For me it all kind of went downhill from there. The seafood ramen (£14.50) was a mouthwatering prospect, but failed to meet my expectations.
I expected much more flavour from the broth - hints of miso or soy at least - but it was a bit flat and overepowered by the fishstock, apart from the occasional and welcome presence of coriander.
The prawns and squid were nicely cooked, if lacking a little in flavour, so too the udon noodles. But some of the mussels were simply overdone, dry and too chewy to digest.
I know it is traditional but I just don’t get the fried egg, either.
No complaints though across the table where Donna enjoyed her rare, chargrilled yellow fin tuna steak (£16.75) served with a firey chilli oil, yummy sesame stirfried cauliflower and Japanese brown rice, and the little ones devoured fish, chips and peas followed by ice cream (£7 two courses).
For me, this particular upmarket chain proved yet again a lovely place to eat on a sunny spring day, where the service was all you would expect. The food - well you win some, you lose some.
Brad Barnes dines at Loch Fyne, Elton, near Peterborough. Tel 01832 280298 wwwlochfyne seafoodandgrill.co.uk/ locations/elton