“ 37-39 Quality Street, North Berwick, EH39 4HR.Tel:+(44)1620 890875 „
The Bass Rock Bistro is a relatively new restaurant (opened in 2003), which has gained an enviable reputation for serving first class seafood.
The restaurant is located in the little East Lothian town of North Berwick, within a couple of hundred yards of the shore. The restaurant is named for the Bass Rock; a huge, volcanic 'plug' that rises from the sea bed only a mile of so offshore from North Berwick.
The bistro's owners pride themselves on supplying meals with the philosophy 'high quality local ingredients, simply and expertly prepared'.
Having read about its gorgeous seafood, I was keen to try the bistro during my stay in East Lothian. Upon reaching the restaurant, I was a little disappointed; from the outside, it looked like a tiny little café!
The bistro is, however, quite TARDIS like, being much larger on the inside than out. The restaurant has tables to seat over 50 people arranged in an 'L' shape. The tables in the far corner are arranged almost as booths, allowing diners an illusion of privacy.
The interior is tastefully decorated with, as expected, a seafood theme. The tables were well laid out, with expensive looking tablecloths and nice cutlery. All in all, a good start to the meal, after the unprepossessing exterior!
For my starter, I knew before arrival what I wanted. The bistro is famed for its Scottish mussels, available with a variety of sauces. I chose the half kilo serving, with blue cheese, garlic and cream. This was served with ample bread to mop up the delicious sauce.
Mussels can be easily overcooked (leading to shrinking and toughening of the meat); these were cooked to perfection. They were full sized, succulent, tasty, and were complemented beautifully by the rich sauce.
The half kilo serving appeared massive, but I did not allow myself to leave even a single mussel, they were so delicious.
For my main course, I declined another Bass Rock Bistro speciality, locally caught lobster, as being just a bit too expensive. Instead I opted for the monkfish which was a reasonable £17. Again, this was perfectly cooked, but also perfectly presented; the firm flesh was sweet and succulent. Accompanying the fish was a lovely selection of vegetables.
The bistro prides itself on a fine selection of wines. I'm not a wine lover, however, so looked for a nice beer. The selection was limited; I decided on a bottle of Scottish heather ale called Fraoch. This is a light amber ale with a floral flavour. It was very refreshing.
The service throughout my meal was excellent. The staff were friendly and helpful and seemed genuinely interested in my opinion of the food and keen to discuss, for example, how the mussels are grown and how fresh their fish is.
All too soon, my meal was over and I left the Bass Rock Bistro with memories of a lovely seafood experience. If you are looking for a meal in the East Lothian area, and you're a seafood lover like me, give the Bass Rock Bistro a try: you won't be disappointed.
The restaurant's website can be found at www.bassrockbistro.co.uk
Opened in June 2003, The Bass Rock Bistro serves some of the finest food in East Lothian.