In a nutshell
Bath welcomes a no-fuss seafood grill and takeaway from Gary Rosser, with impeccably sourced produce and an impressive drinks menu.
Starters are unfussy plates of the freshest shellfish available on the day from sustainable, artisan fisheries in the West Country. Salty pancetta, garlic and parsley butter cuts through fresh palourde clams in little marbled shells, meaty River Fowey mussels are served simply, letting their flavours tell their own story, and Weymouth Bay scallops arrive two-in-a-shell to make up for their dainty size. Bread from local favourite, Bertinet Bakery, soaks up buttery, garlicky juices that taste of the sea.
Portions are generous but not so much so that they’ll ruin your appetite for a main of market-sourced fish (choose from a selection resting on ice in a huge bath tub that separates diners from chefs) either grilled or fried.
Plump for hake, if it’s on the menu, and you’ll be rewarded with a giant ball of crisp, light batter encasing a soft, flaky centre. Proper chippie chips, crisp and fluffy, are perfect dippers for a side of mushy peas, and a scallop shell is put to elegant use as a receptacle for tartare sauce. Skate is a whole different ball game – golden-grilled layers of delicately flavoured firm white fish, also served with those chippie chips.
What we liked
The Scallop Shell is unpretentious and artily rough around the edges – tick your menu requests on a paper menu and hand to the jolly manager in her local beer and ale-lined cubbyhole. Frills can be found when you want them, though: prosecco or champagne, for instance, proves a perfect pairing for fish and chips, the acidity and bubbles cutting through the crisp batter.
What’s the room like?
Think cosy, beach-side chic – weather-beaten wooden tables and chairs sit beneath a canopy of ropes and exposed lighting gleams from upturned colanders and lobster pots. Cool chefs juggle deep fryers and grills in the open kitchen behind the bath tub, adding to the buzzy, friendly vibe.
The Scallop Shell, 22 Monmouth Place, Bath, BA1 2AY; thescallopshell.co.uk
Reviewed by: Alex Crossley
First published: October 2015
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