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Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Fish Place, Battersea

I am ashamed to come away from a delicious meal at ‘The Fish Place’ and admit to you that I didn’t really eat much seafood. Then again, it truly says something about a speciality restaurant, if it is able to excel in other areas of the menu too. I’m not much of a fish-eater, and will always choose meat or vegetarian options first, and here the steak and lamb on the menu was too tempting to pass up.

‘The Fish Place’ aims to serve the freshest and finest fish, so it seems right that it is located on the bank of the Thames, next door to the London Heliport in Battersea. Elegant and understated, the venue has an instantly calming effect, which my friend and I needed after the frantic rush to find it! Clean contemporary decor gives the setting an unpretentious but smart feel. We were seated at perhaps the best table in the restaurant, on the first floor. From this vantage point even the grey sludge of the River Thames manages to look romantic - the bright sun twinkling behind the London cityscape. Helicopters buzzed past and I couldn’t help wondering about the exciting missions on which the passengers were embarking.

A kind waiter brought us menus, while our glasses were filled with mineral water. The restaurant is relatively small, and on this night was about half full, a good show considering we were visiting on a Thursday. It’s worth pointing out now, while I remember, that The Fish Place is only open Tuesday-Sunday, and on Sundays they only serve lunch. I quizzed our waiter on his favourite white wine from the list, and when I gave my exact preferences he seemed confident that he could pick a bottle that would satisfy my very picky taste buds. He returned swiftly with a gorgeous bottle (annoyingly I have forgotten the name), a wonderfully light variety that was very drinkable and would complement any fish dish.

Before starters we were treated to fragrant warm bread and salted butter, and delectable prawn and pea puree amuse bouches. Well balanced and deliciously flavoured these little mouthfuls didn’t last long. Soon after, our starters arrived: Grilled Devon scallops with sautéed girolles, chorizo, tomato and chicken jus for my friend, and Teruel Serrano ham and goat’s cheese with wild rocket and asparagus salad with vincotto dressing for me. There was a crisp freshness about my salad that made it refreshing and enjoyable, a happy marriage of sweet meat and soft cheese with perfectly picked greenery. The scallops received a hearty thumbs up from my friend, who especially savoured the chorizo and shellfish combination. Before our main courses, a shot glass of sorbet came as revitalizing palate cleanser, a thoughtful touch.

We were both starving so ordered the Chargrilled sirloin steak with crispy pomme-pont neuf, carrot puree and green peppercorn sauce for our mains. A premium cut of meat was delivered to us, presented magnificently on large white plates. Bright smudges of orange carrot puree added an extra sweetness to the rich peppery meat and thick potato chips sat in a neat tower ready to mop up the remains of the sauce. My only complaint with this course is the sauce, that though nicely flavoured with whole peppercorns, it had a rather slimy texture that I am guessing is the result of some kind of thickening ingredient.

The dessert menu is brilliantly designed to offer a selection of light, mostly fruit based puddings. I chose Alfonso mango mousse with coconut tuille and my friend had English strawberry and lemon curd tart with mint syrup. I was pleasantly surprised with how good both desserts were, they tasted like they had just been made and were both very original too. The mango mousse was beautifully arranged piled between extra thin honeycomb like sheets accompanied by the best coconut ice cream with real slivers of coconut inside. Soothing fresh mint tea finished our perfect girly meal.

As my companion rightly pointed out, this is a lovely and luxurious restaurant for locals, or those living in a surrounding borough, perhaps not so much of an ideal choice for those further afield. With such a hidden location I hope it gets the recognition it deserves - for fish lovers this place is a must!

Vicentia CourtBridges Court Road, London SW11 3GY020 7095, visit website here.