Tuesday 6 January 2015

Restaurant Review: Fish Market, London

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 decided to have starters and two of my companions chose the crayfish scotch egg, which was declared excellent. The yolk of the egg was slightly runny - I really don't know how they did that - with a layer of crayfish packed around the outside and coated in breadcrumbs that were either fried or oven-cooked (I couldn't tell). At £9 it isn't cheap but they were a good size and still cheaper than the starter I ordered, half a dozen shell-on prawns (£11.50). They came on a little platter with a dipping sauce and a bowl of water to wash my fingers. The prawns were large and really tasty.
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.

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