Saturday, 6 August 2011

Whitby in Food

This week I've been mostly galavanting to Whitby for a few days as my grandparents were over from France. Luckily we mostly had nice weather and the apartment we stayed in was stunning - The White Linen Guesthouse - they even had a Magpie cookbook in the kitchen! It's not the biggest of places so a couple of days would probably suffice, I think I ended up knowing every window display of each shop! But I came home with a few skull items from the various Gothic shops and I ate a lot of delicious seafood. I think the seafood would lure me back.

We had fish and chips to take away on our first night there, from Trenchers no less, James Martin's favourite place for fish and chips! Brilliant! We had haddock, cod and scampi plus chips, tartar sauce and mushy peas. I've never fancied eating mushy peas, they're far too bright green, but they were actually yummy. Glad I tried them again. The fish had loads of flavour and the scampi was really sweet and succulent. The chips weren't greasy, there were just too many of them and we only had 2 portions between 4!! Fish and chips certainly isn't my favourite meal but it was lovely. The next day we found a tiny little fishmongers who only sold around 5 different things, obviously incredibly fresh and local produce. We had the buy the prepared crab. Bit of buttered brown bread and the crab - perfect for tea that night. I adore brown crab meat, it has so much flavour.

We tried to eat at the Magpie Cafe that lunchtime but the queue was pretty huge so we walked (and walked) to try and find somewhere else that everyone fancied. Not the easiest of tasks but we decided to give a place called Mister Chips a go. The dodgy name really doesn't do the restaurant justice. There was the usual fish and chips but the specials sounded delicious so I had the Roasted Ling Fillets with Tiger Prawn Beignets, Steamed garlic, lemon and basil Samphire and Crispy straw Vegetables. 2 of us had the same thing. It looked beautiful and the fish was cooked perfectly. The samphire was amazing, so much flavour, definitely want to cook it like that at home. The beignets were light and fluffy and it was a nice surprise to find a prawn inside.

The grands both had the Pan-fried Seabream with Crushed New Potatoes infused with lemongrass, chilli, garlic and herbs, served with roast pepper and tomato salsa. I am reliably informed that it was tasty!

All dishes came with a side dish of all sorts of vegetables. It was a nice touch to have small amounts of lots of things to try. This is definitely a restaurant to try, just ignore the slightly dodgy name - no offence! We tried to make a reservation for the Magpie for the next day but they only have a few reservations per day and they had already been filled. We thought we'd try anyway for lunch and then eat somewhere else if it was way too busy. Thursday lunchtime - 11.45am - we walked straight in!! They're proud to have been in the Good Food Guide since 1980 and have a great reputation. The menu is absolutely huge and there are TV screens in the restaurant showing specials and which fish and seafood is available and which aren't

The grands both had the Magpie Trio which was salmon, scallops and wild seabass with a white wine, lemon and chive butter sauce on spinach. Big thumbs up on this dish.

I had the Chilled Seafood Taster with prawns, hot smoked salmon, poached salmon, anchovies, scallops, mop herring, an oyster, local mussels and local crab. Wow. This is my ideal sort of dish, lots of small portions of delicious things. I think the anchovies were the least exciting, but that's because I like the ones that taste of pure salt and these were in vinegar. No matter, there was plenty of other things to eat!

La Mama had a lobster salad, great local Whitby lobster. They're so lucky having these readily available. We bought both of the Magpie cookbooks which were signed so will look forward to cooking from those soon. The desserts sounded good but I couldn't fit anymore in. I did have a Bram(ble) Stoker ice cream later on though from a milkshake place selling Mr Moo's ice cream. The ice cream was gorgeous! Blackberry flavour which was really creamy and tasted of actual cream. I went back the next day and had a Plum and Damson Crumble ice cream. I also tried a Yorvale Turkish Delight ice cream from a place on the pier which was really light and delicate. I love being able to try unusual flavours.

We thought we'd put together a tasty ploughman's for our evening meal. Plenty of Wensleydale, not traditional but local, some gorgeous Yorkshire ham and a pork and apple pie from a butchers close to our accomodation.

Mmmm, tasty handmade pie.

On our last day we ate at Graveley's, alas no photos as I'd taken so many pictures of the Abbey I ran out of space on my memory card! The staff were lovely, as everyone had been on our whole trip. More lobster and crab was eaten which were great. Strangely the dishes came with a small portion of pasta salad as well as coleslaw and a green salad. But oh, the chips were amazing! You could taste they'd been cooked in beef dripping and they were absolutely perfect. Get rid of the pasta and give more chips!

We found a great local shop called The Shepherd's Purse who sold loads of wholefoods, local cheeses and most importantly for me - loose teas and spices. Bought some dried spearmint which I'd not seen before and some sumac and sweet paprika. It's great to be able to buy as much or as little as you want. I wanted to bring back some kippers from Fortunes but I'm not sure how they would have done on a 4 hour train journey, and how much other people would have appreciated the smell! They looked great though.

Whitby is well worth a visit if you want to eat copious amounts of fish and chips or some amazing local seafood.

1 comment:

  1. Looks delicious, what a lovely foodie place to visit.