Catch at the Old Fish Market

Review: Catch at The Old Fish Market, Weymouth

It says a lot about a restaurant when it gains national attention within a few months of opening and Catch at The Old Fish Market has been making waves from the moment it opened its doors in June 2021. 

It’s fair to say that the seaside town of Weymouth hasn’t always been synonymous with fine dining. While its colourful quayside has attracted the likes of Mitch Tonks’ Rockfish and some stellar fish and chip spots, the town’s higher end foodie credentials have been notably bare. So, when it was announced that Catch at The Old Fish Market would be filling this gap we were excited to see if it would live up to the media hype…

Location & Atmosphere

When it comes to settings, it doesn’t get much better than Catch’s prime location on Weymouth’s vibrant working quayside. Housed in a Grade II-listed building, originally built in 1855, The Old Fish Market has been painstakingly restored by local craftspeople. Today, you enter Catch by way of the fishmongers downstairs (they’re not kidding when they say the seafood is fresh) and wind your way up a spiral staircase to reach the restaurant above. The newly outfitted restaurant is a chic yet laidback state of affairs, with light flooding in through the windows of the clerestory roof and a contemporary open kitchen. Thanks to this open layout, each table gets the sense they’ve got the best seat in the house, able to watch on as the kitchen team does their thing.

Catch at the Old Fish Market Weymouth
Catch at the Old Fish Market Weymouth

Food & Service

As a general rule of thumb if you’re dining at a restaurant called ‘Catch’ and you aren’t opting for seafood you’re probably doing it wrong. While the team are happy to cater for dietary requirements – with advanced notice – they specialise in offering an authentic sea-to-plate experience.  

We were informed that the menus change regularly to reflect what the boats have brought in, so as long as it’s in season you’re likely to find the freshest and finest seafood options available. We were excited to find everything from lobster agnolotti to roast salsify and Exmoor caviar on the evening à la carte. Pork belly, venison tartare and roast pheasant also made an appearance just in case we had a real carnivore in tow. 

As we turned over our menus we discovered maps of the suppliers and wine makers whose produce had made the cut. The drinks list contains many wines from the Dorset area, including Langham Wine Estate, Furleigh Estate and Bride Valley Vineyard alongside smaller European wineries. Better still, the majority of the wines are available by the glass to encourage you to be experimental throughout your meal.

Catch at The Old Fish Market
Roasted hake, cep, King oyster and truffle - Catch at the Old Fish Market (1)

Standout dishes from our evening meal included a vibrant starter of scallop ceviche. This was so pretty we almost felt bad devouring it. Almost. Not only was the presentation on par with Michelin Star plates but it was also beautifully balanced in terms of acidity. Delicate slices of cured scallop were layered alongside thinly sliced granny smith apple and dill, with a light yuzu dressing. We also enjoyed the main course of skate accompanied by soft belly pork, smoked bacon, plump king oyster mushroom and a silky smooth sauce.

For dessert we opted for the apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream. Designed to be enjoyed by two people, its gooey caramel sauce and crispy pastry led us to preemptively loosen our belts as it arrived at the table. However, the star of the whole show had to be the seriously moreish ‘crab toastie’ that was served alongside one of our starters. This was such a simple concept but it was melt in the mouth delicious – akin to a bougie prawn toast.

Catch at the Old Fish Market Weymouth
Tarte Tatin - Catch at the Old Fishmarket

Overall Thoughts

Catch at The Old Fish Market isn’t just going to put Weymouth on the foodie map, it’s likely going to establish itself as one of Dorset’s most coveted restaurants. At three courses for £55pp the food is far more accessible than many of its fine dining counterparts. Alongside the à la carte options, there’s also the six-course tasting menu priced at £70pp and a three-course lunch menu on Fridays and Saturdays starting at just £24pp. 

Head Chef Mike Naidoo’s enthusiasm for his craft is contagious and frankly a breath of fresh air in what can otherwise be a pretentious industry. It’s great to see such a young team proving that it’s possible to strike the right balance between professionalism and providing a relaxed dining experience. We felt that they had considered all the touches that one expects from fine dining without any of the unnecessary stuffiness or eye-watering prices. If you’re on the fence at all we recommend booking a lunchtime table and giving the food a try for yourself! 

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