A cold Thursday night in February after work, we hopped straight on the Northern Line to visit Fish Cafe, a newly refurbished and revitalised restaurant on the affluent Hampstead High Street. Just a minute’s walk from the station is something that could be mistaken for a fish and chip shop, and it is, but that’s only half the story.
We can’t wait to return and check out their takeaway offering as if the standards are anything like we experienced in the fish and seafood restaurant beyond the front counter, then we are really looking at calling it our new number one. Top quality London fish and chips are far harder to come by than you’d expect in our experience, but maybe that gap in the market has just been filled and the game has been forever changed.
The round submarine like mirrors and sea life decor meant we’d gone from being underground to underwater within moments and if the quality and freshness of the produce is anything to go by, it was like the chefs had just popped out to catch the fish there and then.
We started with deep fried calamari which was meaty, crisp and heightened by the punchy tartare mayo. Throwing it back to a summers day spent on the beaches of Whitstable, we rounded the starters off with lemon and Tabasco sprinkled oysters.
We can’t help but check out restaurant menus before we arrive, and then pose pretending as if we don’t know what we’re about to order. There was major hype for the lobster mac n cheese, and damn, it did not disappoint. It was everything a top quality mac n cheese should be – both mozzarella and cheddar to get the dreamy cheese pull, and in a massive portion. Having never had it with lobster before, we were excited. It turned out to be the ultimate match made in heaven and the best mac we’ve ever had.
The cold night meant we opted for the fish stew to warm the heart and reward the taste buds. It had absolutely everything you could possibly think of – cod, mussels, squid, prawns and so much more. The hot steam raced out when the lid was literally lifted from the Moroccan style dish and the taste and tenderness from every single ingredient meant it never became too much.
Thank you so much to everyone at Fish Cafe for looking after us so well. The service by the manager, Alok, was top notch and unfortunately we were so full we had to decline his offer of a dessert.
The menu has so much to offer so we’re sure we’ll be back again very soon.