Restaurant semi-finalists unveiled
TWELVE semi-finalists for the 2018 Seafood Restaurant of the Year competition have been announced.
Featuring those restaurants in the UK deemed to be serving excellent fish and shellfish dishes, they will now compete to win the ultimate title of Seafood Restaurant of the Year.
Launched in 2015 and run by Seafish and The Caterer, the contest was created to find restaurants that not only produce exceptional fish and shellfish dishes, but are able to demonstrate their commitment to responsible sourcing and customer service.
Following initial judging, the top 12 shortlisted restaurants in the 2018 competition are: Fish City, Belfast; Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill, London; Lussmanns Restaurant, St Albans, Hertfordshire; Mourne Seafood Bar, Belfast; Purslane, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire; Pysgoty, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion; Riddle and Finns, Brighton, East Sussex; The Idle Rocks, St. Mawes, Cornwall; The Kilted Lobster, Edinburgh; The Little Fish Market, Hove, East Sussex; The Saltwater Fish Company, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear; and Wright Brothers, Borough Market, London.
Over the coming weeks, all the restaurants will be visited by a Seafish mystery diner who will rate their performance, focusing on customer service, quality of menu and flavour of dishes.
The scores from this judging stage will contribute to determining the final five restaurants in the competition.
Last year’s winner, Raz Helalat, owner of The Salt Room in Brighton, said: ‘We wouldn’t have won this award if it wasn’t for all the hard work of the team. Winning was truly a group effort which topped of a fantastic year for The Salt Room.’
This year’s judging panel includes Dave Mothersill, head chef of The Salt Room; Calum Richardson, owner of The Bay Fish and Chips in Aberdeenshire; Giovanna Grossi, AA advisor and consultant; José Souto, chef-lecturer at Westminster College, London; hospitality industry consultant, Amanda Afiya; and Paul Hurren, managing director of Lusso Catering.
The winners of the competition will be taken on an all-expenses paid study trip to Brixham in Devon, to further hone their knowledge of catching and processing seafood.
Andy Gray, trade marketing manager for Seafish, said: ‘The Seafood Restaurant of the Year Competition provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the wide range of restaurants, pubs and cafés that are excelling in providing customers with some of the world’s freshest and tastiest seafood as part of a top quality dining experiences.’
Details of the finalists will be announced at the end of September, with the eventual winner awarded in October.
Picture: Last year’s winner Raz Helalat, owner of the Salt Room, and group head chef Dave Mothersill (photo: The Caterer)