Eat out! The Oyster & Fish House, Lyme Regis
It's all about that bass – Lyme Bay sea bass that is – and plaice, oysters, prawns, haddock, sole, crab (and a juicy steak). Wonderful sea views too.
Hurrah! We can eat out again but where to head first? We’ve just been to local boy, chef and restaurateur Mark Hix’s Oyster & FIsh House, high above the harbour in Lyme Regis, with breathtaking views over The Cobb and Jurassic Coast and a daily changing menu of freshly caught local fish, seafood and other local produce. What are you waiting for?
Relaxed, unpretentious dining, with a good mix of people with couples and babies, groups of friends and some day trippers, and a super friendly welcome from the team who couldn’t have been more delightful and knowledgeable.
The wood clad building has a fish shack vibe.
Inside, the dining room is clean and simple with wood flooring and furniture.
Open to the rafters, there is a sense of light and air which is accentuated by the glass windows at the front and side of the restaurant, maximising the light and the stunning views, which you get from every table.
If it’s warm enough, you can eat outside on the wraparound deck but we perched ourselves at the Fisherman’s Table, arguably the best seat in the house at the end of the bar (handy), allowing an elevated view of fellow diners, views – and the man himself.
SCOFF & QUAFF
It’s all about the oysters and the fish here, with locally landed fish and seafood on menus which change twice a day depending on the catch. Mark only buys his fish from the Lyme Bay reserve fishermen and also uses bycatch, fish or seafood caught unintentionally whilst fishing for other fish or sizes of fish, and crabs. (If you can’t do without your red meat, there’s sirloin steak on the menu, and there are veggie/vegan dishes too.)
To keep us going whilst we deliberated the menu: a delicious glass of Lyme Bay Reserve sparkling wine, a bottle of organic stout and some crispy black cabbage with prawn salt (all gone, sorry!).
Oysters to start: these crunchy scrumpy-fried rock oysters with a spicy Scotch bonnet mayonnaise were sensational. Prefer your oysters au naturel? You can have Brownsea Island oysters served fresh.
The Fish House Threesome was a cheeky compilation of Hix’s own cured smoked salmon, tempura sardines and Lyme Bay crab salad with pink grapefruit and fennel, and as light and fresh as can be.
The Hix take on the fish burger: the Fish House prawn burger with spiced tartare sauce.
The plaice, simply grilled on the bone with a piquant green sauce and side order of chips, was sublime.
To accompany, a bottle of Muscadet ‘Origine du Haut Bourg’ Loire, France 2012, a lovely crisp and well-rounded wine, perfect with both the fish and shellfish.
Also on the wine list: Mark’s own Devon Minnow. Mark and his fishing buddy Robin Hutson of The Pig Hotels teamed up with Castlewood Vineyards to create the Devon Minnow, so called because the vineyard is small and in Devon and they dreamed about it whilst on a fishing trip. Made from Bacchus “The God of Wine’ grapes, it’s barrel fermented and aged in French oak for six months.
For dessert, the Scandinavian iced berries with a white chocolate sauce was refreshing and perhaps a little naughty.
The Norfolk treacle tart with whipped cream was sweet, rich and definitely naughty.
Not got a sweet tooth? The selection of local farmhouse cheeses including Harborne blue, Lypiatt, Baronet and Keen’s Vintage Cheddar sounds good.
OUT & ABOUT
Take a walk down through the hillside park – play crazy golf or a game of table tennis en route, if the mood takes you – into town.
The quaint unspoiled seaside town of Lyme Regis is yours to explore with an interesting smattering of independent shops, museum and a picturesque little harbour.
Make like Meryl Streep as The French Lieutenant’s Woman staring out to see from The Cobb (where that scene was famously filmed).
Good for: Come for lunch or dinner with your OH, friends or your bubble every day of the week. Pescatarians (obvs) but there’s steak, veggie and vegan dishes and a kids’ menu too. Curry Club Mondays. Book a table here. or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Mark’s fish truck, a converted Chevrolet ambulance selling fresh fish and seafood, is at Felicity’s Farm Shop in Morcombelake DT6 6DJ, every Thurs to Sat, 9am–12pm.
Not for: People who want bog standard fish and chips.
The damage: Not quite as cheap as chips but very good value given the quality of the food. Starters £8-15, Brownsea oysters £2.75 each; mains £16-25, desserts £7-8; farmhouse cheese selection £14.50.
The Oyster & Fish House, Cobb Rd, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3JP. 01297 446910. theoysterandfishhouse.co.uk
Photos Rick Foulsham