One doesn’t have to go as far as Nice to find fantastic fresh sea food, and I didn’t. I was in Torquay – or Torfu, as a friend once termed it – for a weekend, and my parents decided a visit to Number 7 Fish Bistro on Torquay’s harbour front was in order.
Things started well when, shortly after being seated, we were presented with a tray of today’s freshly caught fish – some of which appeared on neither the regular menu, nor the many “specials” boards! I decided to start with half a crab – in garlic butter, with my parents opting for crab salad and the tempura battered fish selection.
I’ll admit to laughing when the waitress asked if I’d like a bib, but – after regaining my composure, I opted for one, just in case. A wise decision, I feel, as the excellent crab and delicious butter did make rather a habit of getting everywhere. We enjoyed a Picpoul de Pinet 2010 from the Languedoc with our starters, but found it had rather evaporated by the time the mains arrived, and replaced it with a Mâcon-Lugny “Les Genièvres” 2009 from Louis Latour – an equally excellent wine.
I had grilled cod, I think from Brixham, for my main course, with tempura battered king prawns and scallops. It came with tartare and teri aki sauces, and was amazing. The scallops were the best I’ve ever had, and I have yet to figure out how the cod was so moist. My parents had whole baked sand sole (delicious) and the “fish selection” – the best of which I felt was the hake meunière, but also included tempura battered John Dory, and more of the grilled cod.
Room was, of course, left for dessert, and I had chose the amaretti ice cream, in a brandy snap basket with toasted almonds and drizzled with Disarrono Amaretto – from an elegant two-foot-tall glass bottle – at the table. There were coffees to round things off, too. I felt my freshly-made espresso was far superior to the filter coffee which, I fear, had been left to stand a little too long.
An excellent meal, with fantastically fresh ingredients and impeccable service. Taking a taxi ride home, our driver told us he’d not heard a bad thing about Number 7, and quite rightly so. Apparently, it’s been open for nearly 17 years, and was the Telegraph’s Bistro of the Year back in 1995. Not sure what’s changed in the last year or so, but a place like this definitely deserves more recognition!