Review: Fish and chips of dreams at Harrogate's Catch Seafood
The iconic fish and chips at Graveley's of Harrogate have been a staple in the town for decades, so it's not hard to see why some people may be skeptical about trying something new.
When Catch Seafood, a family-owned fish business which spans nearly a century, announced that it was taking over the former Graveley's site and adding Harrogate to its list of Yorkshire restaurants, I couldn't help but feel a tiny tinge of sadness - I'm not very good with change.
But after reading lots about Catch, which already has sites in Headingley, Moortown, Holmfirth and West Vale, I was impressed by the company, its ethos, the reviews and the pictures of what looked like amazing food. So much so, that after the Harrogate restaurant opened its doors I simply had to try it.
I was not disappointed.
The restaurant was busy and buzzing when we got there on Wednesday evening and we sat outside to make the most of the balmy weather, although not before having a little look around at the interior - and refusing to take a picture of my mother in front of the neon 'champagne and oysters' sign, no matter how many times she asked. The terrace was beautiful, with foliage and fairy lights lining the ceiling and tealights on the tables to set the mood.
The building recently underwent a £250k refurbishment and has been transformed into a trendy eatery filled with forest tones and modern fixtures.
After reading the expansive menu I was left feeling a little bit spoilt for choice as everything looked so good. There were so many options - from fresh seafood platters, to fish grilled to order, to classic fish and chips with all the trimmings - my mouth was watering but I simply couldn't decide!
After ordering a glass of sauvignon blanc to settle down with, we decided on the tempura king prawns and moules mariniere to start, before moving onto haddock, beef-dripping fried chips, mushy peas and curry sauce... when in Rome and all that....
The starters came quickly and they smelled so nice that we just couldn't wait. We shared them between us, piling food onto our plates and tucking in before the waiters had even left the table. It had been a long day and we hadn't eaten much in order to save ourselves for the luxurious meal.
The prawns were cooked to perfection, the batter was light and crispy and the sweet chilli dipping sauce did exactly what it said on the tin. They were served on a bed of kimchi slaw and the tanginess really complemented the tempura.
The mussels were a garlic-lover's heaven, covered in cream sauce (which was swiftly mopped up with a chunk of crusty bread) and piled high in the bowl. We ordered the starter portion for one person and we still had to leave a couple there were so many.
When our plates had been cleared away we were served the fish and chips, which were absolutely delightful. The fish fell apart as soon as I put my fork in it, the plate was loaded with thick, crispy chips and the curry sauce was one of the best I've ever tasted. The mushy peas were really good too and the portion sizes were very generous.
Although we were so full we could barely move at this point, it would have been rude not to have a dessert, so we went for the chocolate and raspberry brownie and the sticky toffee pudding - both served with ice cream - and my mum also ordered a latte to round off the meal.
The brownie was gooey and rich, covered in pieces of dried raspberry and white chocolate chips, making it the perfect indulgent treat. The sticky toffee pudding came with salted caramel sauce and was as light as air - and the cold, creamy ice cream perfectly complemented the sweet dessert.
I may have fallen into a little bit of a food coma when I got home, but it was absolutely worth it. Catch Harrogate delivered on every promise it made and I would recommend it to anyone in the area looking for fresh, quality, home-cooked seafood; a good atmosphere, and a great night out.