A Sustainable Seafood Feast to Write Home About at The Seaview Hotel
A Sustainable Seafood Feast that has that elusive, subtle sweetness and pearly freshness that comes from fish so fresh, it has been landed in a matter of hours not days by the local fisherman is very, very hard to find. Equally, you then need a chef who knows what to do with it.
Last night at www.seaviewhotel.co.uk on the Isle of Wight, I grazed like a Queen of the Mermaids on a Festival of the Sea feast of local, pescatorial delights that still linger in my imagination, and will ensure that I will return again and again.
The fishy highlights – a perfectly executed soupe de poisson, robust in flavour, with all the little accompaniments which make it fun even before you dip your spoon into a tangy, terracotta-coloured bowl of joy, which left me feeling I was in Marseille, not sleepy, quite posh Seaview. Bliss! It was interesting to learn that chef Alan Staley makes this thrifty, delicious soup in the classical style, making an intensely flavoured stock from the Cinderella off-cuts of fish from the local fishmonger, Captain Stan in Bembridge and meticulously adding the fennel, herbs and spices to distil a flavour which you would only expect to find under a Mediterranean sun.
After a fairy plate of local crab with a bright ring of tasty salad from the hotel’s own farm – it was on to delightfully named fishy piece de resistance – a rock pool bouillabaisse with an assortment of melt in the mouth local fish from tender lobster to sea bass and mullet.
I tried very hard not to enjoy two much of the local cheese course, which included delightfully salted walnuts – because even more pleasure was yet to come. Pudding was a silken pannacotta that was so good, I might have purred, if I was dining alone! Yes, it was very, very yummy. It was also made pretty on the plate by the addition of glistening seasonal blackberries and little mounds of roasted apples. (The picture show a different version with jelly cubes).
I should also mention the spiced, elegant Kraken rum cocktails designed with urbane panache by Tracey Mikich – the hotel’s marketing whiz. They were good enough to match any uber trendy London hangout. The rainbow-hued non alcoholic tipple was a big hit too.
More about the Seaview Hotel and Chef Alan Staley
The Seaview Hotel is an Isle of Wight institution. For more than 150 years this charming, seaside pit stop has been a magnet for British Royalty to the Hollywood A list – who gravitate to its laidback charm and know that the crab ramekin is the perfect, luxury comfort food beside the sea.
The second very good reason to come is that chef Alan Staley
learnt the classical art of French cooking in the kitchens of The Savoy and Chewton Glen.
This is very good news for us. You can pitch up any day of the week (booking is essential during the summer and Christmas and New Year) and feast on a Seafood Supper of local delicacies including a very good fish pie, risotto or crab salad. This is a good place to have posh fish ‘n’ chips too, naturelement. I can also recommend the steak and chips with Cafe de Paris butter too!
You can do all this and sit and watch the world go by in this rather lovely slice of British Seaside that is more Kensington on Sea than Margate –and revel in your soignee good fortune! To book lunch, dinner or a stay at The Seaview Hotel please visit – www.seawviewhotel.co.uk