The Seahorse claims top seafood award
September 18 2012 Lewis Smith
Mitch Tonks, the chef and restaurateur, is celebrating after winning one of the highest accolades from the Good Food Guide.
His Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth, Devon, was named best seafood restaurant of the year by the guide. Mr Tonks runs three restaurants in the South West – all three of them blue fish rated by fish2fork - and was delighted at the award.
“We were as chuffed as nuts,” he said. “I think the Good Food Guide is one of those I really trust. They have knowledgeable contributors and reviewers. To get an award like that is fantastic.”
In its citation the guide praised the restaurant, which overlooks the Dart Estuary and is just a short distance from Brixham harbour, as the “kind of approachable eatery you can make friends with”.
It added: “It’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for. Superb fish is Tonks' stock-in-trade, and it shows: seafood comes ozone-fresh, often roasted in the wood-fired oven. The wine list bristles with imaginative bottles from artisan producers, chosen for their affinity to the food. There’s a lovely warm atmosphere too, helped by extremely friendly and knowledgeable service.”
As well as the Seahorse, Mr Tonks runs Rockfish Seafood and Chips, the Rockfish Seafood and Chips takeaway, the Rockfish Grill, and advises the South Sands Bay Hotel, just outside Salcombe, on its menu.
Reviewer Giles Coren has described, in The Times, the food served at the Seahorse as the “best meal I’ve had all year”, while earlier this year in The Sunday Telegraph critic Valentine Warner named the Seahorse as being among the best in the world for seafood.
Six restaurants with blue fish ratings were placed in the Good Food Guide’s overall top ten. They were Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Le manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Hibiscus, The Square and The Ledbury.
Clare Smyth of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – which has two blue fish from Fish2fork - was named Chef of the Year for what the guide desvribed as “he focussed and faultless cooking, delivering a menu of graceful new dishes alongside glorious classics”.
Elizabeth Carter, Consultant Editor of The Good Food Guide, said: 'In the shadow of Gordon Ramsay for so long, it’s been easy to overlook the fact that Clare Smyth is The Good Food Guide's highest-rated female chef. Clare Smyth and her team have been on a culinary fact-finding mission to some of the pace-setting redoubts of the nueva cocina in northern Spain, and the research has paid handsome dividends.
“New dishes have been developed, all stamped with a gracefully light touch and an even firmer grasp of the seasonality that is this hard-working chef’s own determined signature.”
Tim Glover, managing director of Fish2fork, said: “Congratulations to Mitch and Clare. To get awards like that shows they are at the top of their profession – and they manage to use fish sustainably. We’re great admirers.
“And it’s fantastic that so many of our blue fish restaurants are getting recognition for their wonderful cooking.”
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