We dined at The Magpie Café first in November 2014, then again in February 2015 and each time we said we’d come back and have something other than Haddock and Chips and for our first anniversary of meeting I took David here for dinner. We were booked for 7.30pm as queues are commonplace at this landmark restaurant. Were quickly seated on the first floor which gave us a view of the harbour and the Abbey – so romantic as a view, just a shame the restaurant’s spotlights do not dim for the evening.
Our waitress Jeanette was just lovely, really warm and funny. We ordered our starters, I chose Chilli Glazed Monk Fish followed by Lemon Sole with Whitby Crab with Béarnaise and Magpie Hash (£17.99) and my partner opted for Moules Mariniere then Dover Sole with Nut Brown Butter (£12.99). Unfortunately the kitchen advised the Dover Sole was “soled” out so David chose the Roast Coley Fillet served on Barlotti Beans with Ham Hock (£16.99; this dish was served at the Deck to Dinner event in London to promote the Magnificent 7 crab, megrim, plaice, coley, mackerel, hake and gurnard). We have had 2 of the 7 – mackerel is out of season now so that was a non-runner.
The wine we chose was a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc called Infamous Goose from the Marlborough region of New Zealand £19.99) which was just divine, it had a perfect balance between buttery flavours and the zest of citrus and gooseberries – a real winner. I must add that I love that the Magpie have a great choice of half-litre carafes as you do not see this enough in England so big thanks to the team for offering this.
Starters: the mussels were a winner for David but we were surprised that no finger bowl or substitute was offered to clean up after dipping in. I love this meaty fish (yes I am lazy and I hate fish bones) however the dish left me slightly disappointed – the fish was moist but the Sweet Chilli Glaze was lacking as was the coriander. The chef had used Coriander Stalks and it just didn’t come to the party – I personally would try this using leaf and stir it thought at the end of cooking. It was my first time to have Quinoa which may be good for you but it doesn’t seem to absorb the flavours of the dish.
Mains: portion size was generous as you can see .
David loved his Coley dish it was really hearty but had delicate flavours and he felt the deep fried spring onions and prawns were not really needed to accompany this dish .
My Lemon Sole dish could have lost one of the flavours too, as the hash contained salty pancetta or lardons, capers and with the rich béarnaise sauce there were a lot of strong flavours supporting the delicious Lemon Sole and Crab. The béarnaise was one of the best I have ever had – overall I loved this and would recommend if you see it on the specials.
Cost – £65 excluding tip.
Winder Winner …4 out of 5 stars for The Magpie Café. Overall we love The Magpie as it holds fond memories for us and we were so pleased we dined her to celebrate and would again. It always has a good atmosphere as it is busy and as its spread over three floors the chatter is never overwhelming. I just wish in the evenings they would dim the lights to add to the romance of the vista this location gives.
If you want to read more of my food adventures follow me on @LouiseWinder or on Trip Advisor.
PS we had a late lunch here on the Sunday of Haddock and Chips (small for me as I have learnt) which never fails to please, still to this day I have never had better x