Seagulls calling. Lively streets. The aroma of fresh seafood sizzling away in the kitchen.
These are the three things I can distinctly recall when I prepared to set foot inside The Peartree Bistro in Fraserburgh a few weeks ago.
Unsurprisingly, even after my boyfriend Josh and I closed both front doors behind us, we could still hear those seagulls – clearly on the hunt for a late-afternoon snack.
Like them, the pair of us were getting rather peckish.
And having heard such good things about the family-run restaurant in the past, we were looking forward to a pitstop during our wee Sunday road trip.
Why The Peartree Bistro in Fraserburgh makes me envious of anyone that lives by the coast
Located on the town’s High Street, The Peartree Bistro is known for showcasing fresh seafood on its menu.
According to the business’ website, the harbour is a two minute’s walk away from the restaurant. It would be a challenge to get your hands on fresher seafood than that when dining out.
Already bustling, we were welcomed with a smile by several members of staff and escorted to a table for two in front of the cake counter and bar area.
We were also given menus and informed on the seafood boards which, of course, change daily as they include the catches of the day.
Having fresh seafood right on your doorstep must be one of the greatest luxuries of coastal living.
Trying out the non-seafood options – here are our ‘beautifully presented’ starters
Our order was taken quickly, which I was surprised at (but delighted) given how busy the restaurant was.
The pair of us were also asked if we’d like to move tables to a quieter area of the restaurant, to which we said yes.
This was a lovely touch and meant we could shift to a window side spot, my favourite.
Given that Josh and I had already planned on sharing a seafood board for our mains, we agreed that trying some non-seafood options to kick things off was a great shout.
Immediately, the same two dishes caught our eyes – the smoked duck breast (£10.95) and festive bruschetta (£8.95).
If I’m being frank, I didn’t expect our starters to be as beautifully presented as they were.
Vibrant, elegant and inviting, it was clear that a lot of time went into them.
My bruschetta was as festive as it gets and reminded me of a cheeseboard, which I aim to be consuming a lot of this Christmas…
Will mine taste as good as this dish? I highly doubt it.
The starter featured a cranberry sauce, plus two thin slices of bruschetta topped with brie, clementine and dried cranberries.
The mildness of the brie was complimented by the sweet (and slightly tart) flavour of the cranberry.
This was one to be eaten with your hands. The fact I attempted to cut through the ingredients, especially given how crunchy the bread was, will make some of you question my existence. Josh did the same when I managed to spray my white jumper with clementine.
I digress. The textures and flavours were on point.
Josh’s starter, boasting beetroot carpaccio, figs, cranberries, whipped ricotta and an orange and honey glaze, also had a great mix of sweet and savoury elements.
He said the duck was perfectly cooked, however, wanted more on the plate. It was maybe the hunger talking.
The main event, a seafood board at The Peartree Bistro
We sipped away at our soft drinks – a Fanta (£2.75) and a pint of orange juice and lemonade (£4.50).
Before we knew it, our seafood board (£29.95) had arrived.
There were six seafood options to choose from and we could select four for our board.
The pickled herring and katsu brill were given the heave-ho, and we requested the pil pil king prawn, crispy breaded sole, monk in a blanket and crispy chilli squid.
Thinly-cut chips also came with it. And I ordered a side of onion rings (£3.50) too, which I would highly recommend, regardless of what main dish you choose at The Peatree Bistro.
Again, the presentation was superb.
Firstly, we each allocated a strip of the breaded sole onto our plates. There were four strips in total, and they were a decent size.
The fish itself was delicate, flakey and slightly sweet. It was mild in flavour, while the breadcrumb shell was zingy featuring sharp hints of lemon.
Next up, the crispy chilli squid. And I must say, this was the standout for me.
The calamari’s texture, surprisingly – given that I’ve tucked into my fair share of firm, chewy squid over the years – melted in the mouth.
However, it was the warm, spicy dusting of salt, pepper and chilli flakes that made this part of the board excel. It danced on the tongue, and I kept going back for more.
The juicy prawns (albeit on the smaller side) were equally as inviting, swimming in a ramekin of paprika, garlic and chilli. We used our chips to soak up the remaining liquid once the prawns had been demolished, and it made for an incredible dipping sauce.
As we made our way through the board, the last item to be sampled was the monk in a blanket (aka, bacon).
I loved the concept, but Josh and I agreed that the thick bacon rasher encasing the monkfish was on the tough side. And while the fish had a lovely, mildly sweet flavour, the saltiness of the bacon overpowered it.
In saying that, the assortment of seafood on this board was fantastic, and I’m not going to let a bit of bacon steal the limelight.
The Peartree Bistro is a restaurant that’s worth travelling for – should you not stay in the Broch – especially if you’re a fan of seafood.
The venue not only looks the part, but offers beautifully presented dishes and service with a smile.
This was some of the best seafood I’ve had in the north-east. And while a special shoutout must be given to our local fishermen, the chef(s) at The Peartree Bistro deserve a round of applause too.
Address: 61 High Street, Fraserburgh AB43 9ET
T: 01346 512212
Price: £60.60 for two starters, one main, one side and two soft drinks
- Food: 4/5
- Service: 5/5
- Surroundings: 4/5
Please note: The seafood board pictured differs to the one Josh and I sampled during our visit as they change daily depending on the catches of the day. The seafood shown in the pictured board includes sweet chilli king prawns and squid noodles, moules marinière, whole garlic langoustines and baked monkfish arrabiata.