DINERS DELIGHT AS A NEW EATING EXPERIENCE OPENS ALONG WEYMOUTH'S BEAUTIFUL GEORGIAN SEAFRONT

08 August 2019

Rockfish

Sit back, relax, and watch the waves while you enjoy a delicious meal at the newly opened Rockfish. What was once the Dorothy Inn (established 100 years ago) is now a relaxed, seafood restaurant serving local, sustainable seafood caught each day and delivered straight from the shore to their door.

We were thrilled to again meet Mitch Tonks the acclaimed restauranteur and visionary behind Rockfish who talked us through his background, love of seafood, cooking, family and valued team. Mitch appeared on stage along with Mark Hix at this year’s Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival and also had a stall at the event.

Mitch Tonks

Image credit: Dorset Media Services

Mitch is a relaxed character; a quality that shines through into the new venue, as when you walk through the doors you instantly feel at home. Stylishly decorated and without pretence, the restaurant, though brand-new to Weymouth, feels like it has always been here. The family of staff, too, help make all the difference. Well-bonded (they even have their own Paddleboarding club!) and well informed of the menu and wine choices, they welcome you to the Rockfish world, in the best way possible. There seems to be a real pride in working here, and it’s easy to see why.

As one of the organisers behind the seafood festival, clearly I am a fan of all things seafood! So sitting down to try different dishes from Rockfish was my kind of heaven. However one fish dish I have always avoided is smoked salmon… until now. Not something I would usually go for, I was very much surprised at just how much I enjoyed Rockfish’s smoked salmon; maybe it was the smoking method which takes 18 hours over smouldering oak in a 50-year-old brick kiln, or perhaps the fact that it was cut quite thickly, which made for a much better texture than most of us are used to. Whichever, it would be my dish of choice off the starter board on my next visit—a very welcome surprise.

The main fish dishes are cooked three different ways: grilled, chargrilled or fried and are served with unlimited chips or salad. Your server will advise you which fish they have available and be able to suggest the best cooking method dependent on the fish you desire. We were treated to Skate, Plaice and Haddock, each cooked to perfection. The plaice served whole was fun to slice and share, and the skate wing fell deliciously easily from the bone with a simple slide of the fork. Whether you are new to seafood or are a seasoned fish enthusiast, give Rockfish a go; their knowledgeable staff can advise you well on any of the menu choices and, like me, you just might find a new favourite.

Not only that, if you or a family member/friend are intolerant to gluten, then here you have a restaurant that can offer everything from its menu totally gluten free, Rockfish have a separate part of their kitchen range to ensure no contamination, so you can relax in the knowledge that you can choose from anything off the menu, just let your server know.

And did we mention the kids? Children can have their own Ocean Protectors pack, this not only keeps your little ones entertained whilst you enjoy poring over the menu (or indeed pouring the wine), but its educational too and includes a booklet with fun fishy facts, colouring and games. Who remembers the traditional card game ‘Old Maid’? Rockfish have their own version of this, just don’t get left with the plastic bottle! A restaurant with a conscience, take home a biodegradable beach-clean bag, and next time you are by the sea you can pick up any bits of litter you might see.

Mitch has given a huge part of his life to promoting seafood, its health benefits, and the sustainable choices available in our own waters in the South West. It’s no surprise he was awarded MSC Chef of the year in 2018 by the Marine Stewardship Council. As well as being committed to helping the livelihoods of fishermen and safe-guarding fish for the future, Mitch’s ambition has been to bring their top-quality, sustainable produce to diners’ dinner plates, to show people just how wonderful the fish from our local shores is.

As Mitch says, “Seafood tastes better by the sea.” So what are you waiting for; rock up, sit back and enjoy all that Rockfish has to offer.

Words – Laura Avant


The Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival raises funds for the Fishermen's Mission - the vital port of call for fishermen and their families.
Fishermen's Mission