I thought I would let you know about our trip to Loch Fyne in St Albans. I won a competition to have free starters from the new menu, so this was a great excuse to go out for a special treat. A pre Christmas gift if you like, and a family meal out. I didn't research the menu like I normally do before arriving, as I fancied a surprise. So, I was unaware of the prices.....
This is the entrance to Loch Fyne in St Albans. It's actually really lovely. I know.... I was very surprised, as I was imagining a white building with a small sign on the outside, but this entrance was big and bold, and you couldn't miss it.
Now, if you want to go out and have a nice meal in Hertfordshire, St Albans has everything! It has so many restaurants. I love it.
In the restaurant, you can tell it is newley renovated. Very wooden feel to it, almost a posh fishing boat feel. It makes sense when you see the pictures.
They do do a SET MENU, which is fabulous value and starts from £11.95 per person depending on the day and time. This is definately more in my price range, but, as we had free starters, we had to have the Al la Carte. This is Expensive. I'm not going to lie, you need to be prepared to spend if you go in Loch Fyne and are treating yourself.
As we had the children with us, we decided that they would have their own meal from the childrens menu and help them if we needed to. The Childrens menu was £7.00 for two courses or £9.00 for three courses. As we were having starters, the children had starters too. I actually thought the menu sounded really good. So, I'm going to show you what the kids had first.
Sounds great for the price right ?
Crudites - this plus one carrot stick. Now, when I saw this I worried. How stingy can you get? Is it the size of the plate that makes it look really bad? Or is it just really bad?
I'm not sure why they both asked for Flat Iron Steak each, but, they were not interested in anything else on the menu. They both enjoyed this....eventually.....my little man was not keen at first, but he ate some of it by the end. I tasted it, and I thought it was good. In fact, I would have been happy with this myself.
For their dessert, one chose ice cream and the other chose a banana split. Can you spot the banana split? They really should not use the same plates for all the children's courses. My little girl didn't really the sauce they put on the banana. She had never had a banana split before, and we were excited for her to see one......and then this flat dish arrived. Its not the same.....She ate the ice cream and scrapped off any sauce. The menu actually stated Rasperries.....not a raspberry coulis.....
Unfortunately my two weren't overly impressed. They felt as if they had to eat it, not because they enjoyed it. Quite frankly, the crudités should not have been classed as a course. These should have been complimentary, and the drinks should have been included.
Right, onto the adult meals. As we had a free starter each, we thought we'd treat ourselves
As the waiter asked if we would like bread and olives to nibble on whilst we waited on our food, we said absolutely Yes. (He didn't explain that it was chargeable.........). The bread was lovely and very soft. Clearly baked daily.
This is the Haggis and Seared Scottish Scallops. Looks fab, and tasted amazing. Although....it was a very small portion. Well, it looked small in the huge bowl it was served in. For the price of it, it should have been more.
This is the Pan-fried Chilli & Garlic King Prawns, served with granary bread. (Yes more bread...) This was really nice too. Loads of fabulous flavours, and with the bread to go with it, it made it feel like a substantial starter.
I also threw in an Oyster...just the one....as its a treat. My husband thought I was disgusting. This I laughed at, as we are both very adventurous when it comes to food, but there are quite a few dishes that we enjoy that makes the other squirm. Hes travelled India and Thailand and eaten food, that I wouldn't even contemplate. So when he squirmed at the Oyster I was very surprised. It was small, and a perfect quick treat. I prefer my Oysters with a vinaigrette , but tabasco and lemon is fine.
Whilst we were all waiting for our mains, I asked the kids to have a wander around the restaurant where I could see them (It was quiet...before you start thinking bad things of me) to take some photos.
When I was choosing my main course, I found it difficult to decide, as I wanted everything. In hindsight, I should have just gone for the fish pie. It sounded great, and I know it would have filled me up...but seeing as it was a treat, I went for a selection of sides.
Half a lobster. It was very small, so not much meat in there. If you've never had lobster....it tastes just like a prawn, just a meatier version. Worth a try, but, its very over-rated. I think I've had lobster twice in my life. This was the second time. I don't think I'll bother again.
Then I also had Crab Claws and Mussels with Courgette fritters. All very nice. But, I didn't get excited about any of it really. Again, I struggled with the claw. There is a lot of meat in a claw, but I had to really dig into it to get it out.
The langoustines (Large prawns to anyone that has never heard of them) were part of my Husbands Steak meal.
My Husband Steak. This is a 21 day aged Sirloin Steak, with pickled onion rings, twice cooked chips and a field mushroom. (Yes, just One) . Such a shame that it looks so underwhelming on the plate.
I decided on Crème Brulee with Shortbread for my dessert. I was excited by this as I love crème brulee, and I don't know why I thought the shortbread would be inside the brulee, as a funky surprise, but, I was wrong. Apart from the burnt parts, it was nice.
This is my Husbands Café Gourmand, although, I seemed to have missed out the Espresso that went with this mini Chocolate & Raspberry Delice.
Loch Fyne....what's my opinion? I really liked the restaurant itself and I thought the staff were very friendly and clearly had knowledge of the menu. However, I left feeling disappointed with the portion sizes of the dishes. I felt like it was all very over priced for what it was. Yes we did choose dishes of a high price, but then I expect a high quality dish, that's going to fill me up.
I would recommend Loch Fyne, but, be expected that you could fly to Scotland itself for the total price of the meal.
If you go....stick to the set menus and go at lunch time if you're on a budget, or alternatively, as there are a lot of people that do not have a budget...go, enjoy yourself and be lavish, like one man who we witnessed having a Shellfish Platter with a Lobster, which included Oysters, King Prawns, Crevettes, Mussels, Clams, Langoustines and Squid all for £59.95 all to himself. It was presented beautifully, almost like an Afternoon Tea style of Seafood.
You can easily do a three course meal for around the £35 mark (which is my limit in London)....you just have to be sensible.
I used to eat out a lot, in many restaurants but over the years , everywhere is becoming increasingly expensive, and to be honest, the local pub food - that hasn't been turned into a Gastro Pub is just as good.
In the future, if I am in St Albans and fancy fish, I would have the fish pie at £14.95 and that's it. I would like to definitely like to try that. I think my visit to Loch Fyne, has completed any future cravings of posh seafood.
Have you been to a Loch Fyne, what were your thoughts? Do let me know.
Address: 5 Verulam Road, St Albans, AL3 4DA
Website : www.lochfyneseafoodandgrill.co.uk