For Andrew’s birthday the other week, we went out for a meal with both sets of parents. We usually head to a local pub or somewhere similar but this year we decided to do something a little bit different and went to The Scallop Shell, a fish and chip restaurant based at a local farm shop (White Row Farm Shop) about 15 miles away.
The Scallop Shell’s ethos is to provide customers with the freshest fish available and you can sit down with squirty tomato sauce and a fork or you can take the food away to eat elsewhere. We decided to sit down with all the family and arrived about 6pm. It was pretty busy and to begin with, we weren’t sure if we'd get a table (there was 7 of us!) but a couple of other people had just finished so we pulled some tables together and found some seats.
They have a standard menu displayed on the board with all the usual fishy favourites such as cod, fishcakes and haddock, and then in the middle of the main counter is literally the ‘catch of the day’ – all fresh fish delivered from various seaside towns across the UK that morning. The menu changes each day and when we were there, you had a choice of John Dory Fillet, Dover Sole Fillet, Cornish Plaice Fillet, Wild Tiger Prawns, Falmouth Bay Line Caught Mackerel and Hand Dived Isle of Skye Scallops,. The only meat option on the menu is Somerset Hamburger which I thought about getting but then plumped for Haddock instead (what a shame, we'll just have to go back again...).
Between the 7 of us we managed to try: Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Mackerel, a kids meal of Fish Chunks and the Somerset Hamburger. Both me and Andrew had the haddock which came with chunky potato chips, a lemon and was garnished with parsley. Some of the meals come with tartare sauce; mine didn’t but the tartare sauce tubs with the other meals were big enough to share round everyone who wanted a dip.
The haddock was pretty darn good, completely boneless (always a bonus), with fish that just flaked ever-so-gently and a batter than was just right – not too crispy and not too soggy. All the food is served in boxes and because the chips are chunky, when you first open the box it doesn’t look like a huge portion but when you start eating, it’s actually massive and I couldn’t even finish mine, although Andrew was more than happy to mop up mine (and everyone else's...) leftovers.
For dessert, the only option on the menu is ice cream but after a gigantic portion of fish, you probably won’t have room for anything much bigger anyway. I had a Clotted Cream one from Purbeck Ice Cream and very nice it was too.
The Scallop Shell is open late all year round til 8.30pm (and 9pm in July and August) which makes it perfect for heading there after work. It’s a shame it’s not directly on our way home, but on the other hand, that’s probably a good thing because otherwise we’d spend a fortune in there!