Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Day six- Scallops and Fish pot.Dorset

The Bridport Arms, West Bay. Full of fishy wonders. Many years ago I came to West Bay and was severely disappointed. It was full of day trippers, touristy food huts serving dodgy burgers and chips and fish that they were at pains to point out was cod and completely boneless...and presumably as far removed from being anything resembling a fish as possible. What a contrast it made from the tooing and froing of the hardworking fishing boats. All full of a kaleidoscopic array of fresh fish coming into rest in the harbour- right next to these 'food huts'. It was shameful.

Thankfully this has been amended. Next to the harbour is my favourite fishmongers (C T Samways & Son) who layout the most inspiring carpet of the freshest local seafood in their chill cabinets. They can tell you where everything was caught, why and how and will prise open huge juicy local oysters from near Portland for you to eat. Standing in the shop. Trying to retain any sense of dignity while the liquor trickles down your chin is to be avoided. Just laugh and join in with the rest of the occupants of the shop. Extremely enjoyable.

You can occasionally buy straight off the fishing boats if you are in the mood for gentle banter, are polite, interested and offer the fishermen a good price. Better still befriend a few of them and I'm sure you'll get the odd freebee in your bag.

And then there is the Bridport Arms, which used to be full of chips and pseudo 'Traditional pub fare'. It now specialises in a few carefully chosen fish and shell food dishes. Supplied of course from West Bays fishing boats.

We started with 4 king scallops accompanied by salad leaves, bacon and an onion marmalade.

Crispy slivers of salty bacon, the crunch of green salad leaves, followed by the bite and sweetness of the Scallop. Extenuated by the onion marmalade.

I love sharing my food and the fish pot to share was right up my street. Fresh and local and interesting to eat. As I lifted the lid I was hit by savoury steam. A fish pot is a fish stew and the 'sauce' shouldn't overwhelm the fish but enhance it. Cooked to perfection we delved in....

...and then jumped feet first striaght into our homemade puds. Heaven.

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