There will be many places that would be envious of Tanroagan’s ability to put bums on seats on a Monday evening. Arriving five minutes early for an eight o’clock reservation, the place was packed and it was agreed we might like to have a walk round the block and spend a few minutes looking at the harbour. Once we back, things were a bit dilatory for a while. Whilst menus were proffered fairly quickly, it was knocking on 30 minutes before aperitif orders were taken and few minutes more before we got to order food. However, once on their system, everything was fine.
The menu is pretty much exclusively seafood, which also made up the content of their two specials boards – one lobster related, the other mainly brill and sole.
Crab toasties were one starter. A mix of the crab, mayo, cream cheese and a splash of soy, giving it an interesting savoury note. This was a goodly portion, piled onto ciabatta and stuck under the grill for a minute or so. A little well dressed salad sat on the side.
Manx queenies appeared in both of my dishes. Firstly, in a couple of thick pancake fritters, made very poky with coriander and chilli. A standard (presumably bottled) sweet chilli dipping sauce worked well.
For a main, I ordered the seafood gratin and was very happy with what came. A large gratin dish – almost dinner plate sized – filled with a mix of the scallops, cod, monfish, smoked haddock and, I think, bass. There was a good cheesy, winey sauce and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs (which I would have liked to be thicker). The waitress had correctly warned that this was a substantial dish but, depending on how hungry I was, I might like some chips. Well, of course, I’d like some chips. And they were pretty good.
My partner had looked to the lobster specials and spotted the classic thermidor. There’s a reason why it’s a classic. It really is just a very delicious plate of food. The whole lobster, split open, with the rich béchamel spiked with brandy and mustard. It really must be time for this retro dish to have its revival. Chips on the side as well as some dressed salad leaves.
All in all, a very pleasant evening.