“ 175 Hampton Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW2 5NG. „
I spend most of my time at work cooking and preparing food, so when someone offers to cook for me, or take me out to eat, I have normally fixed a date with them before they have time to think about it and back out. My mum recently took my sister and myself to dinner and the location bought back quite a feeling of déjà vu for both of us. Our old school still stands in the road opposite The Loch Fyne Restaurant. I should think that in the early 70’s the poor landlord of The Nelson pub as it was then, must have had nightmares about losing his licence, as the more degenerate pupils from Thames Valley Grammar School visited the bar frequently. I was lucky enough never to get caught going in there and after 30 years I no longer have the fear of retribution if I admit to this crime. The Loch Fyne Restaurant belongs to an expanding chain of the same name, which was started in 1998 by Loch Fyne Oysters Ltd. This company’s philosophy is to use free range or wild products from sustainable sources, wherever possible these come from the local area, and if necessary are prepared in their smokehouse by Loch Fyne. Talking of smokehouses, twenty-five years or so ago the atmosphere in The Nelson was always smoky! Now the Loch Fyne Restaurant has been awarded a silver badge from Richmond on Thames’s “Food without Fumes scheme”. This is granted to establishments in the area who reserve at least 50% of their seating for non-smoking clients. Friday and Saturday nights are totally non-smoking. What was the bar area has had a complete overhaul with natural wooden floors and fittings used to their best advantage to give the place character. The atmosphere is very laid-back, and the waiting staff friendly but very efficient. Children are welcomed and for those who don’t eat fish, sausages and pasta are included in the “alternatives” section of the menu. Wheelchair users should note that none of
the lavatories are specially adapted and are situated off the raised area of the restaurant, which means negotiating a few stairs. The vast majority of meals served here are of course fish or shellfish based, and on the menu customers are urged to order items in any order that they fancy. There are a good variety of things to choose from and as might be expected some of them are not cheap. For those who are feeling flush, and are not allergic to some shellfish like me, there are the shellfish platters. The most expensive of these is the lobster platter, which at £34.95 consists of lobster, oysters, langoustines, queen scallops, mussels and clams. There is another platter with fewer items for £24.95 and you can also try a whole lobster for £22.95. Oyster lovers can swallow their fill for £1 each or £5.95 for six. For carnivores there are a few meat dishes, including rib-eye steak for £11.95. Starters cost around £4-7 and are so large that they could be considered a meal in themselves. When we visited my mother and sister ordered the leek and potato soup. They pronounced this to be somewhat over-salted although this didn’t seem to stop them from emptying their bowls. I had the peppered mackerel pate with oatcakes, which I found to be very good. For their main courses my companions ordered the Braden Rost priced at £8.50, which was described on the menu as ”Salmon roasted in the smoke kiln”. They pronounced this delicious and it looked it, as the fish was not overcooked the flesh was butter-soft and moist. As portions consisted of two cutlets each, they couldn’t finish their meals, but my mother had two very happy cats later that day. I had the rosemary infused bream with black olives and tomatoes and found that it was well worth the £9.45 it cost. Vegetables, potatoes and salad have to be ordered separately and cost between £1-2. We had green beans and found that the chef had taken cooking vege
tables “al dente” a bit too far, as they were a little too underdone for our taste. We didn’t have room for a third course, but if you can manage to eat more there is a choice of desserts priced at £3.95. On the day we went these included ice cream, cheesecake and crème brulee. For those who prefer cheese there is a Scottish selection served with oatcakes. The wine list starts at around £10 and consists of bottles to suit all pockets, whether your preference is for red, white or rosé. For those who fancy champagne with their oysters, a half bottle of Joseph Perrier Cuveé Royale will set you back £15.95, whilst a whole bottle will cost £29.95. I liked this restaurant. Fish can be hard to cook just right, and they had achieved that here. Just a little more attention to the cooking of some of the other dishes will ensure this restaurant has my vote. And of course if I want to be sure of perfection, I can simply buy the fish from the shop in there, and cook a meal at home. Loch Fyne Restaurant & Oyster Bar 175 Hampton Road Twickenham Middlesex TW2 5NG Tel:- 020 8255 6222 Fax:- 020 8404 0113 Visit http://www.loch-fyne.com to shop online, locate restaurants and download menus.