Six of the best fishmongers in Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 10:08 10 September 2013 | UPDATED: 13:24 24 October 2015
Joan Russell Photography
If there is anything fishy going on Tony Greenway won't be too far away
I am obsessed with a couple of enthralling TV series at present, both of which are to do with fishing. The first, Extreme Fishing (which, I know, initially sounds like a contradiction in terms — like Dangerous Crocheting or Intense Basket-weaving) is presented by amiable Geordie, Robson Green. But this sort of fishing really IS extreme. Robson travels the world catching massive sea creatures with just a rod and reel — and, crucially, does not sing Unchained Melody at any point in the proceedings. Last week, Robson caught a yellow fin tuna which I swear was as big as a Honda Civic.
The other programme that has me — ha, ha — hooked is River Monsters, presented by Jeremy Wade, a man with an angler’s tan and an ominous voiceover. Jeremy makes fishing look completely terrifying largely because he travels to far flung places and is on a mission to catch some seriously ugly fish; ones with teeth, generally.
Neither of these faintly ridiculous programmes are about real fishing, of course – the kind with nets and boats that brings the catch into, say, Whitby or Scarborough on a daily basis. That kind of fishing can be just as extreme but thank God there are people out there who do it for us and sustainably, too.
Our county is lucky to have a coastline, of course so if you want to sample some gorgeous fresh fish straight off the boat, you’re in the best place. Yorkshire has some great seafood restaurants and fabulous fish and chip shops. And, really, is there anything better than Whitby crab or a smoked kipper?
Plus, Yorkshire also has expert fishmongers who REALLY know their haddock from their halibut and their scampi from their scallops. Here are some of my favourites…
Cross of York
A popular family firm, this and York’s oldest and longest-running fishmongers with a wide selection of fresh and sustainable fish, located in Newgate Market in the centre of the city since 1957.
Holmfirth Fresh Fish, Holmfirth
Selling sustainably sourced fish which come directly from the East Coast and (whisper it softly) Lancashire, Holmfirth Fresh Fish has been in the fish biz for more than 25 years. Plus, this is a great idea, the shop now sends out a weekly newsletter with a ‘catch of the day’ and recipe ideas — so if you want to receive it too, ring or email Holmfirth Fresh Fish with your email address and join its database of around 700 customers.
Now this is an old family establishment, over 100 years (it was established in 1911), and still going strong, using suppliers from around the country. It sells everything from Bridlington crab to Grimsby smoked haddock and delivers to your door.
Fisherman George Mainprize and his wife Ada moved to Scarborough in the 1930s to start this business. At first, George fished and Ada ran a crab stall on the pier but in 1943 they opened a shop on St Thomas Street. It’s still there today, smoking its own fish and making fish cakes known as Bet’s Bombs (named after the owner’s mum who used to make them big enough to feed the whole family). Flamborough crab is always a popular seller.
The Magpie’s Whitby Catch, Whitby
The Magpie is one of Whitby’s (probably even Yorkshire’s) best-known fish restaurants and its own award-wining The Whitby Catch fishmonger is a must-visit too. You can pop into the shop (1, Pier Rd) but, if you’re nowhere near Whitby you can order online or via the phone to buy Magpie quality fish and seafood. All of which is fab news for fish fans.
R Bethell, Kirkgate Market, Leeds
Customers at Bethell’s, situated in Leeds Kirkgate market, include top chefs and restaurants from the Leeds area. All fish comes from sustainable sources and species and they’ll source fish for you if you ask.