Fish Market is an excellent seafood restaurant tucked down a side street near Liverpool Street Station in London - and I only realised it was part of D&D London (what was the Conran Restaurants group) when I went to the website to write this review!
For that reason I had no preconceptions of the type of restaurant or quality of the food - had I known it was part of D&D, which also owns the Bluebird in Chelsea and Quaglino's in Mayfair, I would have had high expectations.
Even if I had, Fish Market would have lived up to every one of these expectations. It was a sunny lunchtime so we sat outside on the terrace, which is shielded from the street with a high wall and shrubbery. It's a stiff-white-napkin kind of place, with an a la carte and 'market' fish menu. The latter offered a choice of six different fish, priced from £11.95 for line-caught mackerel to £37.95 for Brixham Dover sole. The price includes a side order - from a choice of ten, including mushy peas or roasted sweet potatoes, and of course chips - and a sauce. You also choose whether you want the fish on the bone or filleted and served steamed or pan fried.
I went for the whole sea bream (£17.95), filleted, served steamed, with minted new potatoes and sauce vierge. It was quite a mouthful saying all that! Helpfully, the waitress pointed out that while sauce vierge is often a green sauce made from oil and chopped basil, their version is based on chopped tomato and is more red than green. I was glad she'd mentioned that as I don't like tomato and had wanted the green sauce, so changed my order to herb butter.
The a la carte menu had a good choice, including some non-fish options, but I was in the mood for a simple piece of fish rather than something like crab linguini or grilled hake with couscous, chorizo, tomato fondue and parsley. One of my companions went for the traditional beer-battered fish and chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce (£14.50) which was done very nicely.
There's also a children's menu and I was pleased to see that while there were some concessions to younger tastes - e.g. a fish finger sandwich with chips - there was also the option of a half portion of the fish of the day, potato gnocchi with peas and broad beans, or chicken breast with grilled vegetables and new potatoes. I don't know how many parents take their children to upmarket restaurants -when I was a kid, it was pubs for Sunday lunch, Wimpey or the Woolworths cafe - but it's good to know that the restaurant doesn't serve delicate steamed fish to the parents and chicken nuggets to the kids.
We were on a roll and had dessert as well - I chose the lime cheesecake with melon sorbet, thinking it would be refreshing on a hot day (though after two delicious glasses of white wine I was already quite refreshed!). I'm not sure the melon and lime flavour worked together particularly well - in fact I would rather have had the cheesecake by itself. The cheesecake was really zingy and quite soft and almost mousse-like - I prefer a slightly thicker and probably a slightly sweeter, less citrussy cheesecake.
I would highly recommend this restaurant - it would be good for business lunches or even a romantic dinner, as while you are a stone's throw from Liverpool Street Station you are away from the hustle and bustle. Service was excellent and while the food isn't cheap, it's up there with the other D&D restaurants I've been to and if you like fish, as I do, it's a very good place to eat.