The Scallop Shell
Funky, vibrant deep sea diner courtesy of a chef whose passion and enthusiasm for seafood knows no bounds
Sea-harvested mussels, langoustines and clams from Dartmouth, crab and rock oysters from Weymouth Bay. Cornish monkfish tails served at their most succulent, on-the-bone best. Skate wing, whole red mullet, sea bream, rock salmon and the fattest, sweetest, freshest cod loin you’re likely to encounter on dry land… such is the delectable array of fresh fish, seafood and shellfish that awaits you on a typical Scallop Shell menu six days a week, almost 10 hours a day.
This vibrant, funky deep sea diner is the brainchild of Garry Rosser: a chef whose passion and enthusiasm for seafood knows no bounds. Garry’s super-fresh, super-accessible dishes focus on the sheer joy of well-priced, cleanly presented, responsibly sourced non-tetrapod craniate, molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms (geek mode alert!)… and no catches. As a result, tables in both the street-level cafe-style space and the recently-opened first floor dining room (compete with small but perfectly formed “waiting room” bar area and an utterly charming alfresco terrace) represent, at peak times, the most sought-after tables in town. All the cooking goes on in a lively open kitchen behind an ice-filled bath tub packed with the catch of the day, little people (oh okay, we) find attention grabbed by the view into the ‘potato room’ where the Scallop Shell’s chips are made… and that fact that making your own chip butties (proper bread and butter comes as standard with every order) or ordering a pot of Yorkshire tea with you fish’n’chip feast are positively encouraged further adds to the all-inclusive appeal.
On our most recent visit to the Scallop Shell (and trust us when we tell you that we eat here a lot), we splashed around with starters of succulent East Atlantic prawns served with Garry’s homage to traditional egg mayonnaise: two boiled eggs, their yolks still seductively runny, smothered in a smooth, silky, distinctly non-gloopy cascade of indulgence. On the more sophisticated side of the table, a quartet of langoustines arrived resplendent in almost translucent pinky-orange dress suits that were swiftly and easily (and quickly!) peeled off to reveal their intrinsically moist, white, almost crab-esque flesh.
While we’re still on starting block territory, take note: the Scallop Shell Shellfish Plate (which more, erm, pretentious menus might describe as a Fruits de Mer Platter) brings a carefully-selected guest list including prawns, mussels, clams, oysters, langoustines, oysters and Dorset crab to the peel-off party for 2-4 people to share for £50, or you can swim along on your own little tide of sexy seafood scrumptiousness, mixing and matching as you go (an option that, as far as we’re concerned, is best accompanied by a bottle of something fizzy.) But we kept it trad and opted for one starter plate each, because we were intent on diving into main courses too. So…
We took a detour from our usual order of cod’n’chips to enjoy a smooth but inherently meaty slab of rock salmon and a creamy, elegant skate wing, both served with piles of fabulous chips and pools of homemade tartare sauce. We had mushy peas, too, because to not go there, when here, would be ridiculous. Oh, and we had both dessert options available to us: the chocolate mousse (like, OMG!) because both Garry and ace waiter Attila said it was amazing (and it is,) and a slab of Keens Cheddar because it’s served with fruit cake, and fruit cake and Cheddar is a heaven-sent combo.
If you’re not totally, utterly seduced by the multiple award-winning Scallop Shell vibe, charm and fare (Garry and his team have won multiple national awards, most recently an AA Rosette for culinary excellence, don’cha know), then there’s something seriously at fault with your satisfaction SatNav.
- Wheelchair access ,
- Free wifi available ,
- Gluten free options ,
- Baby changing facilities
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