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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Enjoyable lunch at the Fisherman’s

SUNDAY mornings as a child growing up in Ulverston used to involve Mass at the Catholic church with mum, then a trip out with dad to visit various relatives. Often, this trip would incorporate a detour to Canal Foot to buy fresh shrimps, which I would then shell (or ‘pick’) back home.

On special occasions, our Sunday mornings would end with a family trip to the Fisherman’s Arms at Baycliff for a leisurely and relaxed lunch, during which at least two of us four children would end up squabbling, as children in pubs invariably do.

Over the years the Fisherman’s has had a number of ups and downs; and most recently it has stood empty and unvisited by local families – squabbling or otherwise.

Now, however, the Fisherman’s is back in the swing of things, having reopened under new management last October – Halloween, to be precise.

The handsome building has had a makeover (which sadly didn’t include replacing the hideous plastic windows which mar the facade), and in its latest reincarnation it now boasts a pleasant art deco-style interior which has been done very well, with a smart lounge area leading into the light and airy bar/restaurant.

My sister and I took mum for lunch on a dull Wednesday, half expecting to be the only customers there. In fact, the place was buzzing and lively.

Drinks service was a beat too slow – and I had to call the waitress over when we were ready to order our food. I never understand why waiting staff don’t carry order pads with them all the time, rather than having to make a separate trip back to the bar when a customer wishes to order.

That aside, the service was very friendly; and we were certainly not kept waiting unduly after ordering.

In homage to my childhood Sunday outings with dad, I chose potted shrimps (£4.25) for my starter, while mum and my sister Nicola shared smoked mackerel and beetroot fondant with celeriac coleslaw (£3.75). Very well presented, extremely tasty, and accompanied by a side dish of mum regaling us with the tale of someone she knows who’s a ‘celeriac’: cue chorus of ‘No, mum, you mean coeliac’.

As we were at the Fisherman’s, it seemed only proper to continue the nautical theme into our main course choices: fish and chips (£10) for me, scampi (£9.75) for Nicola, and Fisherman’s fish bake (£11.25) for mum.

Mum’s bake was chock-full of juicy fish – haddock, cod and salmon – served in a delicious creamy sauce and potato topping. Served with a side dish of crisp vegetables, it was pretty much faultless.

It’s difficult to make a mess of so tried and tested a dish as scampi and chips – and the Fisherman’s hadn’t put a foot wrong on this, according to Nicola. The chips came served in a large teacup, which was a nice touch, and the scampi were crisp and plentiful, accompanied by an appetising side salad.

My fish and chips were also good. The batter was crisp, although the fish inside was a little bland and lacked density. The mushy peas also needed a bit of oomph (or at least some salt). The home-made tartar sauce which accompanied the fish and scampi was a triumph: thick, crunchy and delicious.

Mum gamely volunteered to try a pud, plumping for her favourite: ice cream (£3.50), which came as a trio of different flavours, all of which she said were delicious.

Coffee rounded off a thoroughly enjoyable lunch; and we all agreed how nice it was to see a place like the Fisherman’s being back on the local culinary map. Just a pity about those plastic windows.

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