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Tuesday, 8 February 2011

London Restaurant Reviews – The Fish Place


Crossing the channel from Folkestone to Boulogne sur Mer a few years ago, I was struck by the contrast with our much-loved Blighty. Much as I love English seaside towns with their fish and chip shops and amusement arcades, Boulogne sur Mer was for me a painful reminder of how little we celebrate our local fish and seafood. It was thus with bitter-sweet excitement that, disembarking, I saw a large number of vibrant fish markets spread around the seafront, with a variety of fantastic produce on sale, and all just an hour away from English soil.

In light of this experience, I have long felt that restaurants like The Fish Place in London are  eateries that we should be celebrating and supporting in Britain. They popularise the idea of fish as a desirable food choice, which makes perfect sense in an island nation (think Japan!).

The Fish Place opened at the end of 2010 at the Bridges Wharf, a new riverside development located on the south bank of the River Thames in Battersea. On my visit, the black marble tables, matching black leather chairs, bare walls and long glass windows were brand new, making for dare I say a slightly soulless ambience.

The menu is reassuringly short, with most starters priced between £6 (Potato and Leek Soup) and £10.50 (Dorset Crab Raviolo), while mains vary from £14 (vegetarian option) to £27.50. Most fish dishes are priced around £25 including some interesting options such as "Classic Marseillaise Bouillabaisse" @ £26.50 and "Pot au feu of Seafood" @ £24 (a mussel risotto with sea bass, salmon, tiger prawn and chive Beurre blanc).

Dr G and I decided to go for the tasting menu @ £55 for 7 courses (in reality only 5, since I would not count the sorbet or coffee). We started with a delightful amuse bouche of fried scallop served in a mushroom and shallot foam. This was followed by a deliciously rich "Traditional Fish Veloute" with Pernod and parsley cream. The soup was hearty but lighter in style than a crab bisque, and with hints of aniseed from the French liqueur.

Our next course was the "Dorset Crab Raviolo" served with buttered savoy cabbage, shellfish and tarragon. The raviolo had been beautifully seasoned in a rich, creamy seafood sauce, but was not so overpowering as to prevent me from savouring the delicate flavours of the fresh crab. I had never tried tarragon and seafood before (chicken being the more common choice) but felt that the combination of flavours worked surprisingly well.

A salad of "Smoked Duck and Baby Leaves" was next. Served with poached quail eggs, roasted pine nuts and a honey and spice dressing, I felt this was a well made, completely unobjectionable salad, but it was the weakest course of our meal.

Before our main course, a delightful "Gin and Tonic Sorbet" was served as a palate cleanser. This had a lovely tangy and alcoholic burn to it which I really enjoyed.

Main courses were "Pan Seared Wild Sea Bass, Sautéed Potatoes, Pink Prawns and Sea Purslane Fish Sauce". This was a simple but delicious dish - the fish was ultra fresh and had been perfectly cooked. I loved the combination of buttery sauce, sautéed potatoes and spinach,  each flavour complementing the delicate fish.

For pudding, we had an "Assiette of Chef's Desserts" including dainty pieces of chocolate and lemon tart, raspberry ice cream and shortbread with crème patisserie and blackberry, which were all thankfully light and delicious.

I very much enjoyed the food at The Fish Place, but the most impressive aspect of this new restaurant was in my opinion their wine list. The wine menu was cleverly thought out with outstanding bottles being sold at reasonable prices. The 09 Vavasour Pinot Noir from Marlborough (awarded a Decanter Silver Medal ) is one of the wines I normally buy from my local wine shop on Upper Street "The Sampler" at about £11.50 a bottle. It was priced at a very reasonable £19 at The Fish Place.

On our visit, Dr G and I ordered a bottle of 2007 Pouilly Fumé Le Champ des Vignes Domaine Tabordet @ £31, which was nothing short of outstanding - it was a full bodied wine made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape (as are all Pouilly Fume wines from the Loire), it had strong stone fruit flavours (peaches and apricots), and good levels of acidity with a long, citrus finish. This bottle retails online for £16 which implies that The Fish Place's wine mark up is less than double. This is highly commendable, since 3-5 fold multiples are sadly the norm in London restaurants now.

Cost: The London Foodie was a guest of The Fish Place. The tasting menu was priced at £55. Lunch menus are also available at £15 /£18.50 for two or three courses respectively which I believe to be good value (or £37.50/£45 at dinner time). I estimate that a 3-course meal from the à la carte menu would cost around £40 to £45 per person excluding drinks.

Likes: excellent wine list with an attractive mark-up, outstanding cooking and attentive, friendly service.

Dislikes: location is remote from major tubes and trains, and the decor felt somewhat sterile.

Verdict: Splendid fish and seafood dishes, outstandingly well chosen, well price wine list in a new River Thames location. Highly recommended.

The Fish Place on Urbanspoon


  1. Can't wait to try it - thank you for the reco

  2. My boyfriend and I both thought this is one of the best seafood meals we have had in the UK. It reminded me of eating fresh fish right on the coast in Cornwall. The cooking is marvellous and agree the wine list is excellent and very well priced.

  3. This looks like a great meal! The crab raviolo is making me drool.

  4. Yeah it's a bit isolated that area, but I suppose you can always make use of the helipad nearby. I will be trying it out. Food looks delicious. Like the wine prices too.

  5. will try, sounds very nice, apart from the decor, sadly. thanks


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