Cerutti 2, Beverley: A proudly fish-focused restaurant popular with diners since 1989
It is, after all very much on my patch and a well-known and popular restaurant. Surely, it deserves the attention of Yorkshire’s premier publication.
Well, yes, it does. Except I’ve always been of the opinion that if a restaurant has been around a long time and seems to be doing OK, the last thing they need is me coming along to pick fault and mess up their ride.
If a long-established restaurant has built an extension or had a change of cuisine or a new chef, that’s different. Then I’d almost certainly pop my head round the door to give people a flavour of what’s gone on.
There’s never been impetuous to do this at Cerutti 2, though, as very little has changed since it opened its very nice front door in 1989. Same owners, same cuisine, even the same head chef. This apparent intransigence is in no way a negative.
They got the restaurant how they wanted it early on and simply stuck with a winning formula. A big reason why punters like the restaurant is it reliably endures in a constantly changing world.
Last week, something changed, though. I wanted to take my dad out for meal and he chose fish for his cuisine. This unexpected choice happened mainly because (despite living in Hull his entire life) he has never really ‘got into’ fish.
The menu at Cerutti 2 is predominantly and confirmedly piscine, so away to Beverley we went one dinner time to finally find out what the place (and possibly the plaice) is like.
To briefly fill in a bit of history, Ceruttis used to be a very popular fish restaurant situated next to the Pierhead in Hull. Owned and run by siblings Tony and Tina Cerutti, they had learned the trade at the elbows of their parents, who ran gastropub (before there was such a term) the George and Dragon at Aldbrough on the Holderness coast.
The first iteration of Ceruttis prospered mightily so Tina decided to double the empire by opening Cerutti 2 in the former waiting room at the train station in Beverley. A fine Victorian building with lots of natural light that perfectly suited the dining experience.
In 2019, the siblings closed the first restaurant with a view to sharing the workload in Beverley as a first step toward gradually moving into retirement. This (despite the hiccup of the pandemic) is apparently still the plan but neither Tony nor Tina show any outward signs of wanting to give up.
They could probably retire tomorrow as chef Tim Bell has been at the stove at Cerutti 2 since it opened so, when they do finally hang up their aprons, the restaurant’s continuity is assured. I think they probably love the game too much to turn their back on it just yet.
To the food. My dad announced he had never (at the age of 80+) had scallops. The pan-fried king scallops with pea puree and crispy Parma ham that I recommended to him couldn’t have been a finer introduction to bivalve molluscs.
A relatively standard dish it may be, but I’ve never known it prepared or presented more appealingly. He loved it. I went fish-free and had poached egg and black pudding with crispy bacon and homemade chutney. Best bit of black pudding I’ve had in a good while and the egg was, naturally, perfect.
My main was monkfish Pondicherry. As the name suggests, it was a dish with a hint of India. Round chunks of pan-fried monkfish fillet in a curry and cream sauce.
We ordered a few veg and some ace chips to go with mains and I’m glad we did as it meant I had something to soak up the sauce with. The monkfish was good, the curry and chips were better. Ever the primitive, me.
Fatha had Halibut ‘C’ (for Cerutti), another first for him. It was a grilled, handsome and sizeable fillet of halibut with king prawns and lemon butter. I’ve no idea where the Cerrutis source their fish and shellfish, but everything is quite impeccable.
A quick shout-out, here, for the waiter who took care of us. He is, apparently, a Cerutti nephew and he certainly worked the room like he’d been doing it since primary school.
For dessert we had a vanilla crème brulee (good spoon crack top, delicious vanilla overload interior) and a lemon and raspberry meringue roulade, which was basically a plateful of very lovely stuff roughly shaped like a circle.
I should have visited Cerutti 2 much sooner. My worries that I may have been forced to report a bad meal or a dissatisfactory dish were entirely unfounded. The siblings, the chef and the staff are so utterly disciplined and drilled that such an outcome appears impossible.
You don’t run a restaurant at this level for over three decades by being sloppy or not knowing your game. I’d maybe like to see a couple more adventurous dishes on the menu but that’s a very minor quibble when faced with food of this quality.
For those who are less keen on fish, fear not, there are plenty more veggie and, particularly, meat options available than I’ve covered here. Cerutti 2, though, is very much fish-focussed and proudly so.
Tina and Tony will hopefully melt comfortably into retirement at their own leisurely pace, but I have no doubt that the restaurant they’ve created in the former waiting room at Beverley train station can easily go on for another 34 years. So good is the food, so precise is the service and so strong is their reputation that their family name is set to live long with the diners of the East Riding.
Station Square, Railway Station, Beverley, HU17 0AS. Tel 01482 866700, www.ceruttis.co.uk
Open: Weds to Sat 12-9; Sun 12-2