Saturday 25 April 2009

Loch Fyne, Haven Road, Poole, Dorset

Housed in a large white-clapboard building with its own car park, this branch of the Loch Fyne chain has dozens of wooden tables spread around a big open plan room peppered with alcoves. There is a lengthy a la carte menu with plenty of seafood options, including six refreshing oysters for £9 served with a selection of accompaniments, such as tabasco sauce and red onions. If you sit down by 7pm, you can have two courses for £12, but the choice is quite limited. Among the starters, the Thai spicy mussels aren’t very spicy, but are tasty enough, while the crevette salad is a generous plate of prawns with some greenery on the side. The nicely-seasoned salmon main course with a tangy salsa dressing can be slightly overcooked, while the hake fillet can be compact, bony and dry. You also get to choose a side order, such a new potatoes, chips, vegetables or green salad.

Not particularly fine
The kids menu (£6 for two courses) has an unusually broad selection of dishes including a decent bowl of mussels accompanied by crispy brown chips. But the fish goujons (also with chips) can be dry and caked in too much batter, while the peas may be slightly shrivelled. At least the kids ice cream, to follow, is creamy, rich and sweet. From the extensive wine list, you can get a half bottle of the straightforward and slightly sweet house white for £7, while full-size bottles start at £12 a pop. A 70cl bottle of fizzy water is just £3 or there is tap water with ice for free. The black T-shirted staff are warm and efficient, but Loch Fyne isn't always fine. 6/10