Having been advised to book restaurants for our two-night stay in Rye, “Webbe’s at the Fish Cafe”:https://www.webbesrestaurants.co.uk/section.php/3/1/webbes_at_the_fish_caf was our first choice. Located at the eastern end of town near the Landgate, it’s housed in a large, tall building which may have been a former warehouse judging by the windows.
On arrival at 7.30pm, we were slightly dismayed at the noise level from two family groups. Quickly checking what stage they were at, we spotted they’d just had pudding and it wasn’t too long before they left, and noise levels resumed to being acceptable – the menu appeared to offer a “little persons” selection before 7pm. Our table was on the side of the room, and we could see the Landgate out of the window.
Bearing in mind we knew we were in for a foodie few days, we didn’t want to overindulge on our first night. We decided to skip starters but share something from the “on arrival” section of the “menu”:https://www.webbesrestaurants.co.uk/article.php/49/sample_menu and chose taramasalata with bread sticks and olives. The taramasalata was not the pink stuff bought in plastic tubs, but a more natural coloured dip which tasted fresh and fishy. The bread sticks were crisp and crunchy with the large green olives still having their stones in them.
For my main course I chose Rye Bay fish stew or as the French would describe it, Bouillabaisse. I’d made it recently and was keen to see how it was done restaurant style. The sauce was completely smooth and as well as a good selection of various types of fish, had mussels and prawns (a finger bowl and dish for shells was provided) and saffron potatoes. The rouille, small croutons and grated parmesan were all served in small dishes. I thought my bouillabaisse was a good comparison, but that my rouille had a bit more depth of flavour and texture, but at £15.00 the dish was good value. The other main chosen was grilled sea bass served on new potatoes with peas, edamame beans, thinly sliced radish, cabbage and a light sauce. It was a lovely light and summery dish.
Although we’d normally have chosen the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, we decided to splash out £3 more and have a bottle of local Chapel Down white which proved a winner.
We skipped puddings but settled for espresso and a glass of ruby port served in tall, elegant glass with long stem. It rounded our meal off perfectly.
Service was good and the atmosphere casual with undressed wooden tables, but with good white starched napkins. The place quickly filled up after our arrival and it is clearly a popular venue.
If you’re not into fish, this is not the place for you as there is only one meat and one vegetarian option available. Our bill came to £84.15 without service with our offer of a cash tip being readily accepted.
There is also a “cookery school”:https://www.webbesrestaurants.co.uk/section.php/5/1/webbes_cookery_school.