Halloween in London: but instead of dressing up in my scariest attire and donning white face paint I decided to do the opposite and go for a lovely girly and civilised meal at Loch Fyne in Covent Garden, a branch of the famously fishy restaurant chain.
Slotted between theatreland's stage doors, Loch Fyne is ideally placed for tourists and hungry audience members. In fact the diners seemed to just be pure and simple fish-lovers come to enjoy a relaxed meal. I went along to review with a friend who actually previously worked at another branch of Loch Fyne, so she could offer valuable insights and wisdom about the brand.
Walking in, the restaurant seemed a little disorganised and the waiter who greeted us seemed unsure about my request for our booked table. On cue the temporary manager for the week arrived and was very friendly, he found us a table and apologised for the confusion.
We were offered bread and olives and ordered a delicious bottle of chilled white wine to complement the fish. For starters, we tried the mushroom and camembert bake and the Loch Fyne Kinglas fillet of salmon. The salmon was served sashimi style and was almost glowing with a healthy freshness, presented simply like sushi, served with wasabi and soy sauce. The mushroom tartlet was creamy and comforting with a lovely kick from the cheese, and deliciously buttery pastry. It felt like an enlarged canape, perfect as a mouthful but this portion was a little too big and rich and we couldn't quite finish it.
For main courses, we chose the Monkfish and Prawn Thai green curry and the 21 day aged British rib-eye steak with garlic mushrooms, king prawns and peppercorn sauce. I think it is sometimes worth trying a dish outside the speciality of the restaurant and it was interesting to discover, that the steak meat was, perhaps predictably, not as high quality as the fish despite the price tag. The Thai curry was fragrant and thick, but seemed to use very little coconut milk, instead compensating with fresh herbs and lemongrass. The strong seasoning worked well with the lightly flavoured monkfish and, served with prawn crackers and steamed rice, it was a success. We also tried a side order of Samphire (a strange seaside plant) which had been recommended to me, though I found the unusual taste not particularly pleasant!
After a short digesting interval, pudding was served - creamy creme brulee for my friend (I was a little envious, as this was definitely the best dessert) and the mini trio for me: chocolate mousse, cheesecake with berries and wonderfully warm pear crumble. The desserts were appropriately light and complemented the main menu.
I had a lovely time at Loch Fyne though there is definitely room for improvement. They impress with their fresh high quality fish and seafood, but to be a truly excellent restaurant everything else must be of that standard too.
Visit the Loch Fyne website here.