The Fish Place in Battersea promised some of the best fish south of the river, so of course it would be wrong not to order the fish…well, not exactly!
I confess that even before I came to review the restaurant, the menu kept tempting me away from the fish with roasted red leg partridge, saddle of venison and Welsh lamb.
But before you tut and click away, fish does get a look in, it’s just not part of the main feature…
The Fish Place is bright, airy and contemporary with an enviable view over the Thames. There are no obvious ‘marine’ themes in the decor, just a calming waved panel on one side that suggests the energy of the sea and leads on from the view of the river.
The staff were professional, polite and welcoming and even checked that the room temperature suited us.
After ordering, we were brought a selection of warm breads – toasted baguette, rustic white bread and a delicious raisin and walnut bread, served with a plate of creamy Normandy butter.
Before our starters, the head waiter brought over an amuse bouche of scallop ‘shots’ – plump, pan-fried scallops in a foamy mushroom and shallot sauce.
After trying the scallops, which were as scrumptious as they look, we had a long chat with the waiter about the best scallops in London, his experiences serving the politicians of Westminster and the concept of The Fish Place.
The service is so polite and attentive, but the staff are also totally unpretentious and happy to share their passion for food.
I started with the Smoked Duck Salad with poached quail’s eggs and pine nuts. It was an absolute delight and everything part of the dish went so well together. The smoked duck was tender and cooked to pink and the dressing really stood out.
When I asked what was in the dressing, it seemed to be quite a classic recipe using egg yolk, vinegar and various seasoning but it just tasted so good.
If there was one thing I would change, it would be just a bit more duck, as once you take the layer of fat off, you’re left with quite a diminutive portion – I think there were just three slim cuts of duck in the salad.
Steven raved about his Lobster Linguine with courgette, saffron, dill and Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings. The pasta was cooked al dente and the courgettes were well-marinated and perfectly complimented the lobster, which was fresh and meaty.
The main courses arrived and the plates dwarfed the table – The Fish Place certainly win points for presentation and statement crockery!
Steven went for his all-time favourite – Welsh Lamb with green beans, potato gratin and spiced pumpkin puree. The lamb was incredibly soft, juicy and plentiful, the potato gratin was creamy and well-seasoned and the puree was rich and covered the meat well.
I couldn’t resist the Saddle of Venison with roasted pumpkin and celeriac puree. The venison was cooked medium as I asked for and it was nicely charred on the outside and tender and pink in the middle.
The celeriac puree was smooth and full of flavour and the pumpkin was roasted to perfection. The boozy red wine-soaked pear brought a touch of sweetness to the venison and was a rich, damson colour.
At first, I thought a pineapple ring had gate crashed my plate but on closer inspection, it was a circle of paper-thin boulangère potatoes. The potatoes were crispy, buttery and beautifully presented.
All of the ingredients worked exceptionally well together and it was like a taste of autumn on a plate – so seasonal and warming.
Dessert was a hard one to call – everything sounded delicious and well-considered. Next time I’ll be trying the Apple and Cinnamon Hot Souffle, but this time it had to be the Orange Tart with Chocolate Blackberry Fondant.
I was under the impression that the Orange Tart would be like an orange confit/marmalade filling on a pastry base, but I was even more excited to find that it was actually a dense mix of chocolate and orange.
The chocolate orange tart was dense, slightly sharp and creamy, on a soft and light pastry base. The chocolate fondant is rich and molton in the middle with a delicate cake texture on the outside.
Another lovely surprise was a biscuit curl filled with heavenly Chantilly cream, all finished off with berries and a blackberry coulis.
Steven ordered the Pear Cheesecake – hot, stewed cinnamon pears on top of a creamy cheesecake filling and fine, biscuity base.
It would be difficult to resist a dessert at The Fish Place, as they all seem just as exciting as the starters and main courses.
We finished with a rather large cappucino and were brought some petit fours – the tiniest, most adorable lemon macaroons and melt- in-the-mouth chocolate truffles dusted with cocoa.
The Fish Place has only been open for three weeks and already it has the confidence and polish of an established restaurant. Granted it was a quiet evening, as the word hasn’t got out yet, but they’ve invested in good staff and seem to understand what makes a great dining experience.
I’m pretty sure this will continue once the crowds start appearing, as the menu isn’t overwhelming and work with the seasons, so they shouldn’t be set for any kitchen blunders.
Fish is obviously the main draw for this restaurant, but they also offer some of the best meat dishes we’ve ever had in London, not just an after-thought for non-fish eaters.
At £45 for three courses, The Fish Place is best for an indulgent treat or going out to impress, but there is a £15 lunch menu that is sure to be popular.
The food and service are exceptional and with such keen attention to detail, The Fish Place could be the most exciting new restaurant in London.
* Chérie City was a guest of The Fish Place
Photos by Chérie City