“The only thing frozen are our fishermen”
Apart from the picture perfect scenery, one of our main motivations for visiting Tobermory was to grab something to eat at Cafe Fish. After seeing a glut of positive reviews. As per usual, apart from a quick peruse of the menu I did very little research – satisfied by what I’d seen and the prospect of fresh fish and seafood. Jordan sorted all of the logistics and read up on where we were going and I had pretty much forgotten about it until we arrived so my expectations were relatively low.
A small waterside building with a nautical theme (yet in no way tacky or contrived) sits on the Calmac Pier looking out over Tobermory Bay. A seasonal restaurant that books up fast its well worth planning ahead to secure a table as it jam-packed with eager diners. Despite the slight chill, we opted to sit on the terrace to take in the view and after gawking at the Tobermorey cat for a while (give it a google) we set about checking out the specials of the day and what turned out to be an extensive menu.
I opted to start with a personal favorite of Moules Mariniere, the giant sized portion came swimming in garlic, parsley and white wine and was served with homemade granary bread, The abundant serving of mussels , locally sourced of course were exceptionally fresh and plump and consideribly better than many dishes I’ve had elsewhere (sorry Belgium but they are better in Scotland!).
Selecting from the specials menu I followed it up with grilled Halibut served with a Beluga lentil dhal, I’ve not eaten much halibut in the past and am quite keen on lentils yet rarely cook them so thought it would be an interesting combination and means of experimentation. The crisp hunk of fish sat atop an exceptional dhal, packed full with layers of flavour and providing a deep, rich viscosity in contrast to the tender white flesh of the halibut. The lentils retained their bite and even later as we had left the restaurant and were walking back to the car the spicy aroma wafted in the air. Beautifully cooked fish with a crisp skin was balanced against the earthy lentils by the addition of creamy celeriac puree and a vibrant gremolata, what risked being heavy and unwielding instead was hearty and comforting against the sea breeze yet not to heavy to leave me feeling sluggish.
Jordan started with the specials menu, selecting the Lemon and Herb Mackrel, served with a warmed potato salad and a dark, sticky beetroot chutney. The fish was well grilled and accompanied by the same gremolata as I had which helped cut through its oiliness with an additional textural element added by the bite of the red onion. This was followed by citrus and honey marinated scallops with a punchy pomegranate, ginger and raspberry glaze. Slithers of spring onion and mint added freshness to the fruity sauce, the scallops themselves were large and well seared and whilst I was never going to try it the coriander salad apparently worked well as an accompaniment.
Whilst we enjoyed the leisurely lunch, the relaxed service and the views over the water; the utmost highlight for us was watching a fisherman carry two buckets laden with fresh seafood up the stairs and into the kitchen. Being from the most landlocked part of the UK it’s not something we are used to! As it turns out, Cafe Fish have their own boat so this is a daily occurrence with lobster and langoustine making a frequent appearance on the menu. With all of the produce locally sourced and supporting the community its not only the ethos that is easy to get behind , much like the rest of the island their passion for top quality produce is infectious.
The Pier, Torbermory, Isle of Mull, Argyll, Scotland, PA75 6NU