An original, independent review by :

The drive up to Loch Fyne, in Poole is like driving through a fairytale, the enchanted road of The Avenue, underneath the tall, never-ending trees makes for a beautiful journey, at the end of which is upmarket Canford Cliffs, one of the few places I’ve seen where they still have a doorman to greet people into the hairdressers of Haven Road.

Chef De Partie, Martyn Trundle prepares seafood in full view of diners

I enter inside the popular seafood restaurant and am hit with the undeniable smell of fish, the nice kind that makes you rub your tummy in eager anticipation of what smells like good food. Instantly greeted by a pleasant host, I glare at the fresh fish on display and the chef filleting a whole pink salmon.

It’s something about the British, that whenever there’s the faintest glimmer of sunshine, we get straight into Summer-mode, dining out where possible and chucking prawns on the ‘Barbie’ if we get a chance, so I dutifully take a seat outside on the veranda, a little cold but drawn like a moth to the single ray of sunlight.

I take advantage of the two-course lunch offer at £10.25, opting for mussels in chilli and coriander as a starter, and whole, south-coast plaice with lemon and butter as a main.

Mussels in chilli and coriander

I  breathe in the fresh air, loving the superb location, beautiful people, and the faint sound of jazz in the background. The place is relatively busy on a late afternoon, and the sight of people laughing and chatting over fine food and wine provide a familiar backdrop.

The mussels arrive in the arms of the man I’d seen minutes ago at the fish counter, and although his filleting skills are second-to-none, he’s obviously been trained well in service too. “Yes madam”, “can I get you anything else madam”, “enjoy your meal madam” – all with a genuine smile and a not-too-over-the-top presence.

The well-portioned bowl of mussels swim in a thin, aromatic liquid and to my relief, they’re all open bar none. There’s the subtlest hint of chilli, and the sweetest taste of coriander. The starter is a healthy, refreshing take on the obligatory Moules Marinieres, and I finish it having my appetite whetted, but my stomach not too filled for the main course.

South-coast plaice with creamy mashed potato

I chose mashed potato as my accompanying side dish for my main, and it is delightfully buttery with not a lump in sight. The plaice itself is small and sweet, with a whack of flavour from the parsley and salt. To use a well-known phrase, the fish simply ‘falls off the bone’, and the subtle, soft texture of plaice is just enough to make me close my eyes, and enjoy the taste of seafood heaven.

I’d have to summarize my experience at Loch Fyne by paying particular attention to the service. Yes, the food was great, but that’s to be expected from a place with so much kudos. But service often lets down places like this, and with front of house being just as important as the food itself, I’m glad to report then, that service was superb.

Every person that attended my table was as delightful as the last, and although my hidden seating area was far away from other diners, it certainly wasn’t a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’, as my every need was catered for with kind, professional service which left me enjoying my food, carefree.

Loch fyne, Poole is in Canford Cliff