The campaigning restaurant guide for people who want to eat fish – sustainably

In Partnership with Marine Conservation Society

The Cove

Birnbeck Road , Weston-super-Mare , BS23 2BX

01934 418 217

Fish2fork Rating
1 Blue Fish

Last rated: 26/11/2012

What we say

Some excellent choices such as sprats (caught in Weston itself) and West Country pollock, gurnard, hake and whiting, are offered at The Cove. However, they are not alone in making the 'mistake' of automatically equating local with sustainable: plaice from the Celtic Sea is an example of a regionally caught fish that features on the Marine Conservation Society's 'fish to avoid' list. Nevertheless, the restaurant clearly tries hard to do the right thing and we feel it wouldn't take much to win a higher rating which would better reflect their recognition of the problems of sustainability. One way of doing this would be to offer their customers more information on the website and menu about the origins and catch method of specific species, as well as identifying which are farmed (and where) and which are wild. More precise identification of the fish used in the '˜sustainable breaded fish' would also be welcome, and we'd like to see them use organic salmon, or at least ensure the diner knows it is from a responsible source.

What they say

Our fish arrives daily landed by day boats from the West country ports of Brixham and Newlyn. Kingfishers buyers Les and Greg see that we only have the best seasonal varieties of fish and shellfish delivered to our door. They use day boats and, where possible, rod and line fishermen.

About The Cove

Both food and location tempt at the round-the-clock restaurant that has injected the resort with a much needed dash of contemporary sophistication. It’s an ambitious operation: to serve breakfast, lunch, early supper and dinner non-stop every day is a challenge for any kitchen, but Cove sets the bar high.

The long, white, pillared room features glass doors that open on to the terrace overlooking Marine Lake and Knightstone Island. The overall look is as bright and modern as the generous cooking that places a welcome emphasis on seasonal and regional produce, especially fresh seafood and fish. Daily specials (in Winter, for example) might include home-made fishcakes with wasabi mayonnaise (£4.25) or pan-seared venison with braised red cabbage, crispy haggis, chestnuts and jus (£18.95). Alternatively, start with grilled mackerel fillet with curried mussel broth and parsnip crisps, and follow with baked pollock with lentil and smoked bacon salsa and roasted red pepper sauce.

Vegetarians also have a good choice - perhaps mushroom and spinach tarte with blue cheese rarebit, poached duck egg and truffle oil (£10.95) or marinated goats cheese with watercress salad, beetroot and elderberry syrup (£4.95). The Cove’s excellent butcher (credited on the menu) ages the steaks for them, and also provides the basis for dishes such as seared pork fillet and slow braised shoulder (£15.95). Desserts keep up the seasonal theme: a winter menu included warm chocolate and sloe gin pudding with home-made damson ice cream (£4.95) and pannatone bread and butter pudding with creme anglaise.

With French toast, maple syrup and cinnamon sugar for breakfast, along with eggs Benedict, creamy porridge and excellent espresso, The Cove is as much an attraction in the town as the restored Grand Pier itself.

The Cove