North Yorkshire restaurant guide - The Waterside, Downcliffe House Hotel, Filey

The restaurant at the Downcliffe House Hotel in Filey is now known as The Waterside. Tony Greenway talks to owner Darren Booth to find out what's in a name

The plush fine dining restaurant at the Downcliffe House Hotel, in Filey, is changing. Not that you’ll notice a difference in the food (which remains excellent) or the d�cor (still stylish). No, this is more of a rebranding exercise because, from January, it will have its own distinct identity and be known as The Waterside.

From where I’m sitting, this makes perfect sense. Downcliffe House is a chic boutique hotel set in a refurbished Victorian building that enjoys dramatic sea views. Its restaurant, meanwhile, has been busy carving out a reputation for fine food and wine — and it serves all comers, not just hotel guests.

Indeed, various people have been jumping up and down to say how good it is, including me after I visited last October to sample its cleverly constructed menu, brimming with fresh produce from local suppliers.

So, frankly, The Waterside deserves to stand apart.’ We wanted to give the restaurant its own separate identity,’ says owner Darren Booth who runs Downcliffe House Hotel with his wife, Lizzi. ‘We don’t like standing still. For us, to keep going forward, it’s important to change the name. We’ve got too many exciting things going on here to keep being known as the Downcliffe House Hotel and Restaurant.’

Downcliffe, voted one of the top 10 seaside hotels by The Independent, is in a fabulous spot, right on the prom in Filey. Darren and Lizzi bought the hotel in 2007, spent a �1m on the renovations and relaunched it in 2008. Lizzi is a chef and still cooks, although the Booths have assembled a talented kitchen team led by head chef, Dave Cartlidge.

One of the great things about The Waterside is that the menu changes every week. In part, that’s down to its seaside location which makes the most of the local catch of the day. ‘We’ll have all kinds of fish on the menu,’ says Darren. ‘This morning, for instance, we got some amazing halibut. We’ve also got some beautiful plaice and Dover sole and some lovely hand-dived Flamborough scallops.

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‘Last week, we did a fabulous monkfish vindaloo and that was really popular. We like tweaking the menu. I get bored with looking at the same thing all the time and I think that diners appreciate the fact that the menu changes constantly.’

Fish is obviously a good reason to go to The Waterside but, if you’re not a fan of sealift, excellent meat is locally sourced. ‘Belly pork is always a hugely popular dish,’ says Darren. ‘And lamb shank, too. We’re always bringing new ideas back to try out. Between myself, Lizzi and Dave, I think we’ve created a varied and interesting menu.’

I’d agree. And there’s another bonus. Wherever you sit in the restaurant, you can see the sea. But, then, of course you can. It’s not called The Waterside for nothing.

The WatersideDowncliffe House HotelThe Beach, Filey, North YorkshireYO14 9LA. 01723

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