One of my favourite things in life is seafood. There’s nothing better than cooking up a bowl full of fresh mussels on a Friday night accompanied by a nice bottle of red. In fact, when I’m holidaying in Greece, I will usually eat more fish than meat as I find it so fresh and tasty over there, which is why when I see what potentially looks like a great seafood restaurant here in Blighty, I try and book a table.
On a recent trip to Torquay I came across a restaurant right on the seafront called Rockfish. With a slogan of ‘tomorrow’s fish is still in the sea,’ and a backstory that incorporates two best mates having a vision to serve only the best seafood from the South Coast of England, it appears to be the sort of place you’d want to try at least once.
The place was packed as we walked in, a good sign and perhaps a strong indication of the fact that in 25 degrees heat like it was that day, people automatically crave the seafood rich diet that is so common in the countries that us Brits like to holiday in.
The one thing that drew me to Rockfish was the announcement that the menu could be made entirely gluten free. First, I ordered the half pint of Norwegian prawns, which I was told I couldn’t have, presumably because there may have been milk in the cocktail sauce. The only alternative for a starter that the waitress could offer was the fresh Devon crab with avocado and lime. It was my first time sampling crab and I do have to say it was absolutely delicious alongside the creamy avocado and spring onion.
For mains, I would have liked the gluten free fish and chips, but again was told I could only have it un-battered and only if it was cod. There wasn’t a lot that I could have off the menu without milk, so I opted for the chargrilled calamari steak but without the garlic butter. In Spain, there is a famous octopus dish that is served with tiny potatoes in olive oil that tastes amazing. I presumed that the calamari steak would come with chips, but it only came with a bit of greenery. It was pretty nice to begin with, but without the butter it got boring to eat on its own and didn’t fill me up.
I don’t know whether because it was a bank holiday the chefs didn’t have time to fire up the gluten free pans, or whether the menu isn’t as adaptable allergen free as first stated, but I left feeling a little disappointed. I have always said that a good chef can adapt dishes but here there wasn’t much choice, and besides, surely putting some potatoes or chips on the plate with the squid wouldn’t have caused too much trouble.
Overall, if you’re a regular eater and you’re looking for a fish restaurant in Torquay then by all means give Rockfish a go. For me however, I probably won’t be visiting again for a while.
I am happy to tell you that I gave Rockfish another go in 2019 – this time when on a mini holiday in Dartmouth – and I have to say, the food was exquisite. They have definitely made allergens a key priority since my original review and presented me with a comprehensive gluten free menu on arrival and the statement that almost everything could be made gluten and dairy free. I opted for a big bowl of juicy mussels and the seafood platter, consisting of giant prawns, langoustine, sprats, squid and onion rings – all cooked in a gluten free batter. I was absolutely delighted with my meal and it was terrific to be able to tuck into the impressive spread laid out before my eyes. Well done Rockfish!
(Pictured: Gluten Free Seafood Platter)