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Thursday, 24 August 2017

Restaurant Review - The Seafood Ristorante, Bruce Embankment, St Andrews

Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant review, St Andrews restaurants, seafood restaurant, The Seafood Ristorante, food blogger, Citylicious
When I think of St Andrews, I either think of childhood holidays or the sport of golf however following a recent visit to The Seafood Ristorante, I might need to add fine dining to the list.
The restaurant is housed inside an iconic glass and steel cube on Bruce Embankment (formerly The Seafood Restaurant for almost 15 years) that overlooks St Andrews West Sands, which has been refurbished and rebranded under the new ownership of Stefano Pieraccini, a 22 year old entrepreneur from the East Neuk town. With a change in name, albeit not massive, the new restaurant will lean towards Italian-style quality dining. Fans of good food need not worry about the the new owner's young age as Stefano will be mentored by his father, restauranteur Adrian Pieraccini who previously owned the hugely successful Rocca restaurant for many years.
Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant review, St Andrews restaurants, seafood restaurant, The Seafood Ristorante, food blogger, Citylicious
Thanks to the floor to ceiling windows on all four sides of the building, the restaurant is light and airy and I imagine that the view from the restaurant will be stunning all year round.
We were fortunate enough to be seated in one of the corner tables and although it wasn't the nicest of days outside, we still had pretty good views of the North Sea rolling onto the beach.
Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant review, St Andrews restaurants, seafood restaurant, The Seafood Ristorante, food blogger, Citylicious
As we took time to look over the menu, we were served a couple of traditional Italian snacks, including shards of aged Parmigiano Reggiano and 'Baccala' salt cod croquettes as well as a selection of home baked breads with creamy butter.
The salt cod croquettes were delicious and a good indicator of how the rest of our lunch was likely to be. The croquettes were served with an aioli that was was packed full with garlic flavour that worked wonderfully with the salty cod. As for the Parmigiano Reggiano, what can I say? Cut from a huge wheel of cheese, the crumbly, salty shards were the perfect way to make up the taste buds.
Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant review, St Andrews restaurants, seafood restaurant, The Seafood Ristorante, food blogger, Citylicious
As we waited on our starters being prepared, we were served the house speciality as a second appetiser. This hand dived Ardnamurchan scallop which has been baked in the shell in an Asian style has been on the menu since the restaurant opened. Owing to the popularity of this dish, it will likely be on the menu for many years to come.
Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant review, St Andrews restaurants, seafood restaurant, The Seafood Ristorante, food blogger, Citylicious
The scallop was seasoned with garlic, ginger, chilli and soy sauce before being being baked in the oven. The pastry seal acts not only keeps the steak inside the shell to help cook the scallop but can also be used to mop up the spicy sauce one yet I've finished your scallop.
We both loved the flavours of this dish with fiery chilli and ginger working really well with the sweet scallop. I actually prefer my scallop cooked more simply but I loved this Asian twist.
Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant review, St Andrews restaurants, seafood restaurant, The Seafood Ristorante, food blogger, Citylicious
Our starters weren't too far away and had me know that the portion sizes were so big, we might have skipped starter altogether. Nicola opted for the langoustine ravioli with roasted langoustine tails and spice shellfish vinaigrette which was a delightful bowl of flavour. A single ravioli, stuffed with a pâté which was mostly well seasoned langoustine, sat atop three good sized langoustine tails and topped with a little caviar. The vinaigrette was more like a shellfish bisque, packed with fresh shellfish flavours with just the right balance of acidity to cut through the sweet langoustine.
Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant review, St Andrews restaurants, seafood restaurant, The Seafood Ristorante, food blogger, Citylicious
I decided to take a break from fish and selected the steak tartare with nasturtium and bacon butter for my own starter. Pretty as a picture, the tender beef was well seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, capers and shallot although maybe just a touch too much white pepper for some. Thinly sliced radishes and some microherbs added some much needed texture to dish, although there was also a slice of toasted bread served on the side with the aforementioned bacon butter. I love steak tartare but the portion size was huge and knowing that I still had a main course to follow, I struggled to finish my starter.
Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant review, St Andrews restaurants, seafood restaurant, The Seafood Ristorante, food blogger, Citylicious
When Nicola's main dish of Anstruther lobster pappardelle with roasted buttered lobster and shellfish sauce arrived, we both felt a little disappointed in how the dish was presented. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with the taste or quantity it's just that the previous dishes had been presented beautifully whereas this dish looked like a big plate of pasta. Of course, it's difficult to make pappardelle look sexy but we expected to see a more refined delivery after the previous courses.
Putting that aside, the pasta was cooked perfectly, the shellfish sauce was wonderfully rich without being 'too fishy' and the roasted buttered lobster claw that sat on the top of the dish was as good as I've tasted.
Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant review, St Andrews restaurants, seafood restaurant, The Seafood Ristorante, food blogger, Citylicious
My own main of Isle of Gigha halibut, steamed with lemon, cockles, new season asparagus and watercress was a picture on a plate. It looked classy and tasted wonderful. The halibut was soft, succulent and seasoned well with the subtle flavour of lemon doing just enough to add to the fish without overpowering it. The accompanying cockles added a natural saltiness to the dish whilst the watercress purée was a peppery counterbalance.
Gerry's Kitchen, restaurant review, St Andrews restaurants, seafood restaurant, The Seafood Ristorante, food blogger, Citylicious
After our hearty feast we both admitted defeat and didn't even attempt to look over the dessert menu, instead rounding off our meal with a shot of strong Italian coffee. The accompanying homemade pistachio cannoli was the perfect sugary sweet pick-me-up to ready us for the long drive home.
The menu prices are maybe a little higher than I would usually pay for lunch or dinner but seafood restaurants have never been cheap and I can honestly say that at The Seafood Ristorante, you get what you pay for. The quality of the fish and seafood was exceptionally high and when matched with the cooking skill in the kitchen and the attentive service, The Seafood Ristorante delivered a truly memorable lunch and somewhere that I would happily recommend should you ever find yourself on a St. Andrews.
We dined as guests of the restaurant but the review above is an honest account of our experiences on the day. We wish the staff, management and new owners all the best for the future although based on what we seen, I'm sure that Stefano and his team will be around for many years.
Keep up to date with news and offfers from The Seafood Ristorante on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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