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[Bournemouth] Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside....

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WestBeach, the restaurant, is situated right on West Beach, the beach. It majors on seafood and was recently included in a Jay Rayner listing of the 20 best places to eat this summer. I knew a couple of the other places so I thought it’d be a good bet for lunch. So had everyone else.

It was only just past noon but the outside terrace was full – mainly folk drinking coffee – I realised then that it’s a cafe as well as restaurant. No matter, WestBeach has those full-width doors which fold completely back so you’re outside, yet inside (if you see what I mean).

As mentioned the menu is heavy on seafood, supplemented by further dishes on the specials board. I started with a couple of roll-mops – good fish, finely sliced onion giving a bite, nicely vinegary.

WestBeach also meets my criteria for “Eating Fish & Chips Elsewhere than a Chippy”. In sight of the sea? Check. Reputation for fish? Check. Cod, chips and mushy peas, please.

Lovely crisp batter to the fish – not a hint of oiliness. Nice flakes to the smallish fillet of cod. Excellent tartare sauce. Peas a bit thick and stodgy – more pease pudding than mushy peas – but a really good flavour. Chips, frozen but reasonably tasty – and fried to an appealing golden brown.

I’m northern, so eating fish & chips is a cultural imperative. It is not blind prejudice but part of my genetic make-up to despise southern fish & chips. Are bears Catholic? Does the Pope shit in the woods? But, I have to accept, these were OK. OK, they were better than OK.

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  1. Sounds interesting. We were thinking of spending the day around Littlehampton tomorrow - best bet, East Beach Cafe. These names are so original!!