Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Magpie Cafe, Whitby restaurant review

It’s hard not to fall in love with the food being served at The Magpie Cafe, a North Yorkshire fish and chip institution.

And, judging by the queues down their steps come rain or shine, it holds a special place in the hearts of many many others. This is no mean feat considering every other business in this goth-friendly seaside resort is a fish and chip shop.

However, the Magpie doesn’t just serve incredible fish and chips. Kipper pate, local oak roasted salmon, seafood stew, grilled woof and lobster thermidor were just a couple of the dishes which conspired to distract me from the task in hand…

There was nothing regular (neither size nor flavour) about my regular haddock and chips (£11.95). Every mouthful of fish was a joy – the perfectly flaky fillet enrobed by thin, crisp, grease-free and perfectly puffed up batter.

Chips were also things of beauty - chunky, crisp, fluffy and ever so slightly meaty (that'll be the beef dripping they're fried in). They were a delight to dunk in a pot of tartare sauce and a gravy boat of sweet & spicy curry sauce (£1.25).

Mrs G’s “small” cod and chips (£9.95) was top drawer too; the fillet meatier textured, subtler flavoured and larger flaked in comparison to my haddock.

Mushy peas (£1.50) were as they should be – savoury mushed marrowfats with only a slight sweetness (unlike cloyingly saccharine crushed petit pois which so often masquerade as the real deal).

Samphire (£2.25) with a scattering of onions were delightfully salty and buttery. They were only dragged down by the presence of a few woody, thick stalks.

Desserts were as enjoyably retro as the Magpie’s placemat & coaster bedecked tables. Sadly, I didn’t have gullet space for a spotted dick or jam roly-poly.

My knickerbockerglory (£5.95) was huge. Smooth, creamy vanilla and strawberry ice creams were interwoven with sweet & sharp poached berries and coulis, whipped cream & crispy meringues.

A lemon meringue pot (£5.45) combining creamy, sharp lemon curd, meringue pieces, whipped cream and lemon sorbet could have fed a family of four.

The Magpie is the kind of old-fashioned institution that only exists in the illusory rose-tinted recollections of “When I were a boy…” 

Groaning plates of textbook fish and chips, jovial waitresses and bowls of school dinner puddings all make The Magpie Cafe a very special place.

The details:

Address - The Magpie Cafe, 4 Pier Road, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21 3PU
Web -
Telephone - 01947 602058

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