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Restaurant review: Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurant

PUBLISHED: 11:44 13 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:44 13 November 2017

Food at Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurant

Food at Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurant

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Right opposite the pier and with a witty and stylish ocean decor, the newest seafood restaurant in Deal offers excellent service and a wide-ranging choice of dishes

Dessert Dessert

Perched right on the seafront, it comes as no surprise to find that seafood is the speciality here at relative newcomer to this coastal favourite town, the Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurant at Deal.

This latest addition to serial entrepreneur Turrloo Parrett’s growing empire of fish restaurants opened last December and joins the original Hythe Bay and Dover versions, all under the ‘Hythe Bay’ mantle.

With ‘Quality not compromise’ his motto, you just know that every detail will be spot on under the magic touch of the Kent-born and educated man who built up the prestigious Eastwell Manor Country House and Spa at Ashford.

First impressions certainly don’t disappoint. This is a really smart space, subtly echoing the seaside setting with a turquoise tiled wall, bubbles rising and falling behind the bar and a chandelier made up of interlinked fish shapes – it’s like dining in an upmarket aquarium.

The Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurant on Deal's seafront The Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurant on Deal's seafront

Seating 90, there is a mix of intimate yet open booths, table of varying sizes with comfy grey chairs and some banquettes; flooring is a mix of slate tiles and carpet, downlighters provide an intimate glow and there’s light jazz in the background.

Service is phenomenally good – I’d only been chatting to restaurant supervisor Ben Foreman for a few minutes when the couple at the next table stand up to tell me they’ve followed Ben from the Dover branch to Deal, he’s such a star. Indeed, his enthusiasm for the brand and his knowledge and passion for the food is infectious and his influence on the rest of the waiting staff plain to see.

Ben talks us through the menus (which include a gluten-free and children’s version as well as daily specials) and the extensive wine and cocktails list.

While my instinct would be to halve the number of starters and main dishes and concentrate on purely seasonal, there is an excellent choice of reliable favourites (prawn cocktail, calamari, dressed crab and fish pie) with some more daring offerings.

The elegant, contemporary restaurant The elegant, contemporary restaurant

So after a complimentary starter of smoked mackerel pâté served with warm, home-made bread rolls, we opt for the adventurous category of dishes. My Dining Companion loved her pan-fried coconut prawns that really did taste deliciously of coconut, served with a mango compote on rice.

Meanwhile, I picked out one of chef’s specials – pan-roasted scallops with prosciutto and a pea and mint sauce, which made for a colourful presentation and excellent combination of sharp and sweet flavours.

MDC surprised me with her choice of locally smoked poached haddock topped with a poached egg, a family favourite she cooks at home but one that earned her approval for its perfectly flaky fish, right level of cheese and first-class bed of mash. Sugar snaps added a vibrant splash of crisp green contrast.

I really enjoyed my poached seafood medley, a colourful, hearty collection of shellfish and seafood, nicely accompanied bya chilled glass of crisp Chilean Sauvignon Blanc Gran Verano.

Head chef Ashley Gilham Head chef Ashley Gilham

For non-fish eaters there are choices including sausage and mash, steak, home-made burgers and pan-fried duck breast.

Puddings are definitely on the safe side, but then a good sticky toffee pudding that meets MDC’s high standards is always nice to shout about. And I’ll admit I was very happy with one of my favourites, a chocolate and salted caramel torte, served with raspberries and a raspberry coulis.

Talented head chef Ashley, who only started this summer, certainly has a keen eye for presentation as well as flavour and as he tells me over after-dinner coffee, is ambitious for future success.

With a nice, relaxed vibe and already attracting a steady stream of regulars dining here, many keen to experience the latest in the Hythe Bay collection, this Deal restaurant on the brink of its first year in town looks set to become a firm favourite with diners of all ages.

One final but important point – the loos are not only immaculate but very smart: a black and grey decor with sparkly blue and turquoise tiles.

A restaurant to watch.

Name: Ashley Gilham

Job title: Head chef

Tell us about you

I trained at Thanet College but at the age of 18 I decided to join the Royal Navy as a chef. I served for seven years and saw a lot of the world, including volunteering to serve for six months in Afghanistan and earning myself a medal. Currently I am studying a foundation degree in food science and business at London South Bank university which I will follow with a BA Batchelor third year in business management. My aspiration is to open a restaurant that is modern, relaxed and with at least one Michelin star!

Main suppliers?

Foodari and Griggs of Hythe.

A signature dish?

Roast escalope of wild sea bass, slow roast heirloom tomatoes, tomato gazpacho, basil oil and olive crumb.

Top cooking tips?

Treat ingredients with respect, using great ingredients cooked simply, with the emphasis on texture, balance and the right temperature. Without passion and respect for your ingredients a dish simply cannot be great, so never add ingredients simply just for colour, every element should be there for a reason, which is to enhance a dish.

Must-have gadget?

My Robot Coupe.

Who inspires you?

Marco Pierre White, with his natural gift for the art of cooking, his philosophy of simplicity and true respect of the craft. I have also done a stagiaire at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin-starred hotel, where I was influenced by the whole ethos of modern day elite kitchens and how chefs are rewarded and treated with respect just as they treat the produce with respect.

Breakfast today?

Coffee!

The essentials

Where: Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurant, 41-45 Beach Street, Deal CT14 6HY

01304 365555 or deal@hythebay.co.uk, www.hythbay.co.uk

What: Smart seafront seafood restaurant

How much: grilled sardines £6.75; pan-fried halibut £21.95; Hythe Bay fish pie £16.75; sirloin steak £19.95; sticky toffee pudding £7.50

When: 10am-9.30pm

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