With Hull being a marginally coastal city, and with an incredibly rich history steeped in the fishing industry, I have always been shocked by the lack of fish restaurants in the city.
Ceruttis has been a staple of the restaurant scene for years providing fresh produce, but other than that the only designated seafood restaurant was Bait in Princes Avenue, which closed suddenly several months ago.
So imagine my happiness when Humber Fish Co opened its doors last weekend.
Promising the freshest of fish and seafood, the former owners of Stanley’s Brasserie have invested £100,000 into the refurbishment of a former warehouse in Humber Street, and I couldn’t wait to try it out.
It opened on Thursday, July 12, so we wasted no time in booking a table for three on the following Saturday.
We had booked for 7.30pm, and it was fabulous to see the sun shining and the bars and restaurants in the street bustling with customers – a great renaissance for the area.
When we arrived at the Humber Fish Co we noticed it was almost full, except for one table on the borders of the opened glass doors, bathed in sunlight.
We arrived bang on 7.30pm, but were asked to wait at the bar while our table became available. I wasn’t best pleased we were being made to wait because the previous customers had been late, especially when there was a perfectly suitable and vacant table right in our eye line.
After 20 minutes, we still hadn’t been seated, and I had asked several times if we could sit on the vacant table, to which I was told someone else had booked it.
Eventually, just before 8pm, I asked the question again and the staff agreed, and we moved to the table.
We were provided with the menus, and got to choosing what we wanted.
The starters all cost around £8, and included garlic prawns, prawn cocktail, shellfish soup, Loch fine oysters and more, and the mains all included fresh fish and seafood including lobster, dressed crab, seafood stew and fish and chips, as well as cold sharing platters.
All of the fish produce is bought directly from Filey every morning, and despite the menu running low on ingredients, I actually prefer restaurants running out of fresh products because it means they aren’t freezing anything.
We were told there was no lobster, dressed crab, crevettes, sea bass or halibut left, which dwindled our options somewhat, but we weren’t going to be ordering The Skipper’s Haul platter for £90 anyway – the dish consists of Hull Dry Gin-cured salmon, oysters, native mussels, crevettes, shell on prawns, smoked mackerel pate, poached salmon and cockles.
Eventually, we chose the prawn cocktail £8, sautéed king prawns £8 and salt and pepper squid £7.
Just before the starters arrived, we received a complementary bottle of prosecco for the table, to appease our previous wait.
The food arrived promptly and we were more than pleased with what was placed in front of us.
The prawn cocktail contained plenty of large, juicy prawns, as well as a shell-on king prawn, and was accompanied with homemade bread and marie-rose sauce. It was delicious.
The salt and pepper squid was succulent and soft, and not at all greasy like you would sometimes expect with calamari-style dishes. They were definitely some of the best we had eaten in Hull.
The sautéed king prawns arrived in a copper pan and were covered in aromatic, fried slices of garlic with a wedge of delicious garlic bread.
Again, the prawns were juicy and perfectly cooked, and they were devoured in no time.
For mains, we chose the seafood stew £19, whole lemon Dover sole £20 and the large fish and chips – and they weren’t kidding when they called it a “whale” portion.
Costing £15, two fried fillets of fish arrived with beef dripping, hand cut chips, as well as a large pot of mushy peas – there was also a deal on meaning you got a free pint with the dish.
The peas had to be sent back as they arrived stone cold, but the staff were obliging and returned in no time with a piping hot portion.
The fish was beautifully cooked, and the chips were delicious – superb with lashings of salt and vinegar. I was told some of the well-known chippies in the area had been beaten on taste.
The seafood stew was mammoth, containing mussels, prawns, lobster claws, hake, salmon and plenty of other meaty fish, all in a reduced tomato sauce that was full of flavour.
It was accompanied with more of the gorgeous garlic bread, unlike any I have had before, but the portion sizes got the better of me and I’m ashamed to admit I had to leave half of the bread. Scandalous on my behalf.
The Dover sole was cooked to perfection, and was gleaming in fresh shrimp butter and lemon juice. This was accompanied by beef dripping chips and a large wedge of lemon, and I must say it all tasted divine.
We couldn’t eat another thing, so desserts were off the cards, but we sat for a while with the prosecco people-watching and basking in the sunset. It was a brilliant way to spend a Saturday night.
Hopefully, any service wobbles will have been fixed by now, as I appreciate we visited early on in the restaurant’s opening, but I would urge all of you to visit this pescetarian paradise some truly fabulous seafood.
Humber Fish Co will be open Tuesday to Sunday, from 11.30am to 11pm. For more information on Humber Fish Co, visit www.humberfishco.co.uk or follow @Fishywishy_ on Twitter.