The Old Passage: Seafood at its best

The Old Passage Arlingham
The Old Passage, Arlingham

An award winning seafood restaurant

January 2020 Regretfully this restaurant has now closed. 

We live no more than 15 minutes away from the Old Passage at Arlingham, but it feels like a different world. A distance from the restaurant the GPS announces that we’ve arrived, yet there’s plainly a way to go. We drive on a very straight road for another mile to where the Old Passage is located on the banks of the Severn River.

My Crispy Oyster - the Old Passage, Arlingham
My Crispy Oyster

A ferry across the Severn to Newnham was in existence hundreds of years ago. Up until the Second World War the ferry continued but as the river silted up, passengers often had to be transported on the backs of the ferryman!  Understandably it became less and less used and eventually ceased to operate.

In much more recent times, the Old Passage restaurant was a disco apparently complete with black walls. Now it is white washed and very much at one with the landscape. The interior is welcoming with well spaced tables with artwork from local artists on the walls.

10th Birthday Celebrations

The restaurant celebrating its 10th birthday under the current owner and it fittingly won the Best Seafood Establishment – South category at The 4th annual Food Awards England in October 2017.

Lobster bisque packed with flavour at the Old Passage Arlingham
Lobster bisque packed with flavour

The Old Passage is renowned for its Severn Bore Breakfasts. The one this December has been booked solid since last Easter. The Severn Bore is an amazing phenomenon. With particular combinations of tides, a large surge wave is formed and funnelled up the estuary and can be up to 3 metres in height. It travels rapidly upstream at speeds up to 9.5 kilometres an hour.  Note to self to book early next year!

Mullet ceviche beautifully presented at the Old Passage, Arlingham
Mullet ceviche beautifully presented

The Tasting Menu

We are ready to experience the 7-course tasting menu. Recently at a Michelin starred restaurant near Marlborough, we’d alerted them that my husband is allergic to oysters. He got some kimchi as substitute! Here, the substitution was excellent: crispy squid with mango and passion fruit sauce. I tucked in to the crispy oyster.

Crab and Kohlrabi - a refreshing combination at the Old Passage Arlingham
Crab and Kohlrabi – a refreshing combination

What followed was the perfect seafood menu with plenty of flavours and textures. By the end, were desperately trying to decide which were our favourite when quizzed by our waitress (who is also granddaughter of the owner and their newsletter writer).  All of them apparently doesn’t count! It was very difficult to choose between crispy squid and silky smooth bisque or the freshness of the crab and kohlrabi. Suffice to say we throughly enjoyed our meal.

The final course was duck (strangely) which was delicious. But I really could have stopped at the last fish course.

Scallop with perfectly balanced chorizo and hazelnut at the Old Passage, Arlingham
Scallop with perfectly balanced chorizo and hazelnut

Desserts are extra. These are accomplished but I’d suggest it is the fish dishes where chef John Lane’s considerable talents lie.

John Dory with cider and apple sauce at the Old Passage, Arlingham
John Dory with cider and apple sauce. I could have eaten this for ever!


I've discovered

6 thoughts on “The Old Passage: Seafood at its best”

  1. Perhaps fish would suit? There’s also usually a meat dish available too!

  2. This has long been a place I’ve wanted to visit but not being a lover of seafood always means it slips down my list. I’ve heard such good things though and it might just be the place to try a few new things! Great to read about your experience.

    Honeybourne Line

  3. Amazing what places we have locally but you just have never heard about – thank you for sharing – especially the info about needing to book early for the Severn Bore Breakfast.

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