“ The Former United Reform Church / West Avenue / Gosforth / Newcastle Upon Tyne / NE3 4ES / Tel: 0191 255 9320 „
This Loch Fyne restaurant is really something of a mixed catch. Like all Loch Fyne restaurants, the menu here is pretty much fish- a huge variety of fish and different dishes.
This Loch Fyne is relatively new and sits on Gosforth High Street. The building it is in used to be a Church until it was renovated and bought by Loch Fyne and this makes the inside quite stunning. There is a main floor and then something of a mezzanine floor which overlooks this. The feel of the place actually feels a tiny bit like being on a ship which is pretty cool.
The floors are wooden and beautiful and the tables and chairs are also very nice and reasonably comfy making this a very nice place to go and eat either during the day or in the evening.
The prices here are no different to other Loch Fynes I don't think and although they are quite high, when you consider that you are getting fresh fish they are not really bad and are to be expected. The service I have experienced here has been of a very high standard just adding to the great eating experience that you get here.
However this leads onto the very negative side to eating here. Whilst the experience at the time is normally great the morning after experience is often not so good. Fortunately I have not had this problem however I know a very substantial number of people who have had food poisoning from this restaurant sometimes more than once. This has occurred over a long period of time so it was not a particular batch etc.
Unfortunately this makes it something of gamble to eat here- whilst the eating experience is fantastic if you are unlucky the next morning you will wish you never went.
On a recent meal out, we decided to try some place we had never been but had heard good things about. Since we all like all things sea foody, we chose this place.
Situated in Gosforth, a taxi ride away from the centre of Newcastle, it seemed that after the meal we could either drink in Gosforth or have a little foray into the centre of the city.
The restaurant is inside a renovated church, so once we went inside the gates, and into the restaurant, we were very pleasantly surprised byt the place. set on two levels, the restaurant is light and airy with wooden floors and tables set out with plenty of space between them- no banging into people. The tables themselves are quite functional and come without lots of adornment- no table cloths but obviously napkins ready for the wiping away of sea food from hands and face!
The bar area is set against the side at the front of the area, and is surrounded by tables and chairs. unfortunately, because this area is right next to the door, it is a bit draughty although the chairs are proper comfortable arm chair type chairs and not wooden high backed ones.
Upstairs is accessed by a central stair case and diners can eat up here as well although I preferred downstairs near the kitchen where it was warm- the kitchen being quite open meant we got a lot of heat which was nice on an autumn evening.
We opted for the hot and cold shellfish platter with lobster and the same with crab, so we could have a bit of everything. these came beautifully presented on tiered plates and were accompanied by dishes of water for hand washing and plates on which to put the inevitable waste. It has to be said that for anyone who dislikes sea food, this meal would be a definite no go. It's all very obvious what you are eating, and takes a lot of work to get to the actual edible bits.
Also available when in season are oysters and plenty of them, costing £1.50 for a single oyster, up to £13.95 for 12. I don't like oysters so steered clear of them, but they can be bought on ice, with garlic breadcrunbs (in my opinion probably more palatable) and on ice with chilli and coriander dressing.
The menu also features mussels and smoked salmon starting at £6.95 for the classic smoked salmon. The starters and light dishes menu starts at £4.95 for peppered mackerel and there are tasty looking things such as salad of beef with pancetta rocket and parmesan- proof that even if you don't like fish you could eat here!
Main course dishes included Pan fried salmon with shitake mushrooms and lemon ginger dressing for £11.95, char grilled halibut with tomato olive and caper salsa (£17.95) and smoked fish pie at £9.95. The main course menu does also include salads, meat and vegetarian dishes which also look tasty and worth a try.
I don't think any of the dishes come with anything other than that stated on the menu, so side dishes have to be ordered. We opted for the mash, which caused much hilarity when I stated that I wanted lobster and mash, but was in fact very tasty. We also had the seasonal vegetables at £3.45, which included brocolli and carrots in a warm basil dressing- delicious!
It being a Saturday night, we had booked a table, and on enetering the restaurant, were shown to the bar and when we had ordered drinks, the menus were brought to use. The menus themselves ar quite big and unwieldy although smaller ones can be had.
We were shown to our table quite quickly, and well before boredom had set in, and from then on, the service was efficient and unobtrusive. The staff knew what they were talking about when questions about the food were asked, and weren't constantly at the table badgering the diners.
~~Other bits of information~~
The restaurant is on the corner of a busy high street and as such parking spaces are at a premium; best to get a taxi and save hours of driving around.
Toilets are situated upstairs and whilst they caused me no confusion, the gentlemen of the party were quite confused because the gents are individual toilets not the usual all boys together thing they are used to. Ensure they don't follow the man in front into his single toilet!
The restauirant is apparently dedicated to the protection of all forms of maritime life and do not fish endangered stock. Looking at the quantity of water life being eaten in just one night, this is probably just as well.
~~Address and Contact details~~
Loch Fyne Gosforth
The Former United Reform Church
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 255 9320
Lots of information about the various restaurants.
For anyone who enjoys sea food, it's a great place to eat, but if you really can't stomach it, then don't go- fish smells are quite strong even from one fish!
The restaurant itself is well set out and has a great atmosphere- plenty of customers, attentive staff and a welcome absence of loud music.
The food is well presented and delicious and the menu features plenty for everyone; water life, meat and vegetarian meals. The platters we had were absolutely filled to brimming, and even being big eaters we couldn't manage them both. They do make it easy and thankfully the full lobster wasn't on the platter which we rather expected, but rather the crab and lobster were broken into smaller more manageable pieces.
The only thing I didn't like, but it's a minor point was the chairs at the front of the restaurant. we took our coffees to the bar area and I wished we hadn't, because the large church door was open, and the room being high and big meant it was a tad chilly and I had to keep my coat on. No one else seemed to mind though, so perhaps that's a grumble too many when everything else was excellent. The staff even washed some of the different shells for me and put them into a box then a rather nice bag when I explained we were going to be doing sea life at school, so i really can't complain!
All in all a very pleasant dining experience. We usually find ourselves on the streets after a couple of hours when the staff want to sit someone else at your table, but this wasn't the case here- there seemed to be no rush although the restaurant was busy, so we had no need to meander anywhere afterwards.
A restaurant worth a try; there are Loch Fyne restaurants throughout the country, but I obviously can't vouch for these. Not the cheapest of places but worth the money
Thanks for reading.