Growing up in Scarborough, Trenchers Restaurant in Whitby was a destination reserved solely for special occasions.
So, it was with some excitement that I made the journey to the picturesque seaside town to relive my childhood, hoping beyond hope that my rose-tinted view of this seafood restaurant would not be brought crashing into reality.
It had been over 20 years since my last visit and the large Italian-style dining area was as clean, bright and welcoming as I remembered. But the abundance of free tables was a far cry from the scores of people queueing up outside from my youth.
The hustle and bustle of a restaurant in its prime has been subdued into the pleasant buzz of conversation from a restaurant that holds its own, but no longer leads the way.
The menu offered little in the way of surprises, however, the selection of local seafood was an appetising prospect.
The Fresh Crab (£6.95)caught my eye, not least because of the adjacent words ‘highly recommended’ emblazoned in red on the menu.
I could not help but feel disappointed though, when an unimaginative plate of crab meat, accompanied by a tasty, yet dated looking salad, arrived. The peculiar adornment of a strawberry only helped to age the dish.
The Trenchers Seafood Special (£8.55), a selection of fresh crab, salmon, prawns, mussels and tuna, had the same treatment. The trio of salmon stole the show on this cold platter, the highlight being a delightful salmon mousse.
Trenchers makes no pretensions of being anything but a good fish and chip restaurant, and with that in mind I opted for the haddock and chips (£11.45).
The fish was a good size but lacking the meaty texture of a good fillet of haddock, the flakes slipping apart rather than breaking off in succulent chunks.
The batter, in contrast, was excellent, light and airy with a melt-in-the-mouth texture. It was complemented by delicious chipped potatoes and tangy homemade tartare sauce.
The Home-Baked Fish Pie (£9.95), on the other hand, was a disappointment. Several of the key constituents seemed to have gone amiss, and the remaining cod, haddock, fresh salmon, two prawns and mashed potato were crying out for the absent smoked salmon and creamy leek sauce.
The Homemade Sherry Trifle (£5.95), chosen in homage to my nostalgic evening, was a pleasant affair and the Crumble of the Day, rhubarb and strawberry, (£5.95) was a tangy treat, however there was too little crumble for my sweet tooth.
Sadly, the rose-tint has faded a little and I suspect that without changes, the queues will remain a thing of the past.
There are several excellent restaurants in the area and the pricing pitches Trenchers amongst these, rather than competing with the scores of fish and chip shops.
To justify the price, a little imagination is needed to create an exciting and complementary menu for the standard Whitby fish and chips.
Like meeting childhood heroes, sometimes it is better to live with fond memories than to try and relive the past.
Food - 5
Menu choice - 6
Service - 8
Decor - 7
Ambience - 6
OVERALL RATING - 6