Food and Wine Pairing

Pairing wine with food can be a fairly subjective task, naturally some combinations lend themselves to each other and complement the flavours but other tastes can be personal and some find different combinations work better than others. Seafood and fish are both classically paired with a large glass of (usually) white wine, but getting that specific white wine is the tricky part, and here at WestBeach we know how important choosing the right wine is to really compliment your meal. That’s why we ensure all of our staff are as passionate about wine as we are and are always on hand to offer you advice. Traditionally, white wine has always been the go-to wine to pair with fish and seafood but we want you to experiment with what flavours work for you, whilst taking into account the texture and essences of the dish. Nonetheless, as a general rule, below are some pairings which we feel work best together to enhance the flavours of every dish.

To start your meal off we pride ourselves on our perfectly cooked starters, these include dishes such as Pan Seared Scallops served with crisp pork belly or English breakfast tea soused mackerel with crispy spiced oyster. Each of these dishes we recommend a light dry such as Pinot Grigio or Albariño to compliment the flavours but not overwhelm the dish or a Sparkling wine which will equally balance the flavours in the dishes and open your palate ready for the rest of your meal. For our Confit duck & pork rillette we recommend a rich white such as a Chardonnay or a Chablis or if you’re more of a red wine drinker, a medium red such as a PE Tinto or a Merlot works just as well.

For flaky and light fish, the zestier and more acidic the wine should be to elevate the delicate flavours. Fish such as Haddock, Sea Bass and Cod are complimented by a Sauvignon Blanc. This sort of wine generally work well with any white fish.

For a meatier fish such as Trout or Cod; a fish with a firmer and thicker texture, try pairing it with a medium bodied wine with high aromatics, this will bring out the flavours of the dish whilst not overwhelming it. A full-bodied white wine with an oaky flavour works best. Try it with a Chardonnay or Verdejo.

Next, we have a meaty fish. This is a fish like Tuna or Mackerel which are firm and have a ‘steak’ like texture. These fish are assertive in flavour and therefore, need a strong rich wine to match and to stand up to the dish. Here is when you can also experiment with a Red or Rose. With these fish a white Pinot Noir or a Dry Rose work really well.

Lastly, we have salty fish like Sardines and Anchovies, these have a very strong flavour which can also resemble the taste of the sea. With these types of fish, you are best to combine them with a wine with a strong yet contrasting flavour so that you can balance out the saltiness of the fish. A Champagne or something Sparkling works well to do this. The faint sweetness in the Champagne and the crispness makes it one of the most refreshing drinks, perfect for accompanying a salty dish.

Most people, in general tend to know that seafood pairs well with a light white wine. Whether you are sipping on a glass of Champagne whilst you devour a plate of Oysters or a glass of Pinot Grigio with your bowl of mussels as you watch the tide role in, however a wide range of wines complement seafood and a lot of your choice should be down to the way the seafood is cooked and the sauce it is served in. For example, a rich sauce like a lobster bisque should be paired with a Viognier or a classic Chardonnay or our Crustaceans can be paired with a Light Red like a Pinot Noir or a traditional rich white such as a Chablis. Here at WestBeach, we also like to pair our Oysters with a light dry which such as a Muscadet.  

We may be a fish and seafood restaurant but we still like to provide a range of dishes in case you just aren’t feeling seafood but would still like to enjoy our view and ambience. Currently, we offer Beef medallions served on a potato rosti with applewood & red wine shallots. We suggest this is paired with a medium red, such as a PE Tinto or a Merlot or a heavier red such as a Malbec or a Shiraz.

Ultimately, it is your meal. If you fancy a certain type of wine, go for it! Wine has the power to elevate any type of meal to a truly memorable experience, so whatever dish and whatever wine you pair it with: enjoy it.