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Rockfish, Torquay. Set Table

Review
Rockfish, Torquay

Chrissy Harris revisits her old favourite and finds, to her delight, a more grown-up version of Rockfish

My kids have grown up with Rockfish. When we lived in Plymouth, we spent many happy Saturdays visiting the National Marine Aquarium before – quite unashamedly – eating at Rockfish next door (see the fish, eat the fish). It was a great set-up for my then early primary school-aged children who would eat their kid-friendly lunch while playing with the stickers, cards and colouring sheets that came in their Rockfish entertainment pack. We grown-ups could then enjoy a decent meal (and a great view) in peace.

Fast-forward a decade or so – we now live in Torquay, the kids are teenagers and we haven’t been to a Rockfish for ages. I wonder why not? It’s still such a great set-up. The Torquay restaurant is right on the harbour – ideal for boat and people-watching.

The kids are too old for the children’s menu now, but not, as it turns out, for the Rockfish entertainment pack (the Ocean Protector’s Pack). I definitely saw a flash of nostalgic joy in their eyes when our lovely server watched as they tore open the packs to reveal playing cards, fishy dominoes, a bag for beach cleaning and more. Jake immediately put the John Dory sticker on his phone case.

We were presented with a selection of nibbles (which included bread and a more-ish anchovy butter) before starting properly with salt and pepper Brixham calamari, half a pint of Norwegian prawns, crisp fried Baltic whitebait and aioli, and a ‘firecracker’ prawn cocktail. I had a ‘proud parenting’ moment, watching my now nearly 13-year-old daughter Alice tear the heads off the Norwegian prawns and scoff them down. We’ve come a long way from fish goujons and chips; an observation further confirmed when Jake, 15, ordered the whole grilled plaice. This was one of the wild-caught market fish and shellfish on the menu, which also included mackerel. I can’t resist grilled mackerel – it’s not fancy with Dover sole-star status, but I love it. This one was perfectly grilled, melt-in-the-mouth soft.

The Rockfish menu now includes the Breton classic, moules and frites, which my husband can never see beyond. They were also delicious (he let me have just the one). And no cream. Hurrah.

Alice had the grilled haddock – before I’d had the chance to ask for a bit, it had gone the way of the Norwegian prawns. Of course, we all had a side of chips. Rockfish chips are always great – just the right amount of lightness and crispness and in regular supply. We ordered two extra portions just to make sure we’d really had our fill.

The kids did dessert – a lovely sticky toffee pudding and clotted cream, and a hot cinnamon brownie and brandy gelato.

There was a lot more on the menu than I remember from Rockfish days of old, and everything seemed much more, well, grown up. Perhaps we’ve all moved onwards and upwards.

Sample Menu

Starters

  • Vegetable tempura with Vietnamese dipping sauce
  • Roasted half shell scallops

Mains

  • Brixham hake fillet & chips
  • Crispy Rockfish tacos

Desserts

  • Crème brûlée
  • Artisan Italian gelato

Prices

  • Starters from £6.95
  • Mains from £14.95
  • Desserts from £4.95
Chrissy loves the shipping forecast on a loop in the loos, her window table (the best seat), and a sneaky side order of roasted leeks with romesco sauce
Rockfish
20 Victoria Parade
Torquay
Devon TQ1 2BB

01803 212175
https://therockfish.co.uk/pages/torquay-seafood-restaurant

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