From pot to plate: Part 2

The fishmongers

Arnolds Fishmongers
Arnolds Fisheries selling Bridlington Bay Lobster. Photo courtesy of Arnolds Fisheries

A good seafood dish doesn’t need many ingredients, because it’s the taste of the sea that needs to shine through. But what it does need is the right prep – and this is where many people shy away, as they don’t feel confident. If you’re lucky enough to live near a fishmonger, this won’t be an issue because they are seafood experts, ready to share their knowledge and expertise with anyone who needs it. People like Donna and Frank…

Meet donna wright

Donna Wright of Arnold’s Fisheries. Photo courtesy of Visit Malton

An Arnold’s sign first went up over the shop at Queen Street Bridlington in the 1950s, but there has been a fishmonger on the site for over 100 years. Which isn’t surprising, because the harbour is a stone’s throw from the shop door – the stock doesn’t have far to travel!

The original Arnold was Swedish and moved to Hull in the mid 1900s. On a trip to Bridlington he saw an opportunity to create a business and set up as Arnold’s, selling fruit, veg, game and seafood. The business grew and developed and today is run by his grandson, Andrew, and partner Donna, focussing on shellfish and seafood. They both bring local knowledge and a variety of experiences to the business – and being born in Bridlington means the sea and fishing are part of their make-up. 

Donna’s background in catering and hospitality, with kitchen expertise gained at the seafood restaurant Loch Fyne, makes her the perfect person to pass on cooking advice and tips to her customers. And for those who want to skip the cooking and prep and go direct to eating, freshly caught and dressed lobster and crab are (nearly) always available in the shop.

Arnold’s buy their Bridlington Bay lobster either direct from the boats or, more usually, from the landing companies such as Coastal Shellfish. They then cook, prepare and dress it.

Dressed lobster sounds fancy – and so many people assume that means it’s expensive. But Arnold’s make Bridlington Bay lobster as accessible as possible. They cook it, halve it and the inedible parts are removed. The delicious claw and knuckle meat is then placed back into the head cavity and it’s ready to eat. A squeeze of lemon, maybe some mayonnaise and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal for around a fiver.

Find Donna at 33 Queen Street, Bridlington, YO15 2SN

meet FRANK

Wherever Frank is, he’s generally surrounded by seafood. Either in the Quay Street shop in Bridlington, with his gill nets on the beach or in his kitchen cooking crab and lobster.  Like many fishmongers, he has a licence to fish for bass and salmon and then buys in other products – including lobster – from local suppliers. He generally cooks and dresses lobster to order, getting them in fresh and sending them back out to customers on the same day. 

Frank Photo courtesy of Frank’s

His knowledge of the sea and fishing runs deep, after over 50 years working in the industry in some capacity. (He had a brief stint working on the Channel Tunnel in the 1980s, but that merely meant going to work under the sea, not on it!)

Born and brought up in Alderney, his childhood was centred around fishing. As a schoolboy, Frank had his own boat and crab pots and sold his catch to locals. After school, he joined the deep sea trawlers, progressing from galley boy to deck hand.  A move to Bridlington in the 1970s began with work on local trawlers until, aged 24, he went to Nautical College and then worked as a Skipper until the 1980s. The next few years saw various moves to the Channel Tunnel, into filleting and then running a fish shop at the local caravan park.

He got his licences for bass and salmon about 20 years ago and has worked on his own boat since then. Wife Sally and daughter Hannah are key members of the team, helping to get the goods from the boats to their customers.

Like all good fishmongers, Frank sells everything as fresh as possible so stock changes daily dependant on what has been landed – there are no guarantees in fishing. But if customers want anything specific, he will do his best to find it. During our conversation he was preparing 10 lobster for a customer who had ordered them earlier that week. And if you want any advice on preparation or cooking, Frank is only too happy to help.

Find Frank at 83-85 Quay Road, Bridlington, YO16 4ES

make your fishmonger your friend

We all know fish and seafood is healthy and as an island nation, we should be tucking in on a regular basis. But many people are apprehensive about choosing, buying, preparing and cooking seafood – and that’s where fishmongers like Frank and Donna can help. With their knowledge of what’s in season, what’s been caught by which boat and the most suitable buy for the customers’ needs, they are always worth talking to. You might find a new recipe, pick up a handy tip or be shown a variety you’ve never considered. 

Fishmongers are a key part of the Bridlington Bay lobsters’ journey from pot to plate, so make the most of their knowledge, expertise and passion because without them, the high street is a duller place.

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