|Seared Devon scallops with pumpkin puree|
The Fish Place opened about a month before I visited and there was only 1 other table occupied during our prime time Saturday night visit. Clearly the local Battersea residents have not yet caught on that there is extraordinary cooking going on in their own backyard.
The head chef previously worked at Michelin starred Roussillon. In every single plate, we found his food not only expertly cooked, but an absolute joy to eat. The freshness of the fish and quality of the ingredients were abundantly apparent from the outset - all seafood is sourced from British waters (there's Dorset crab and Cornish lobster) and is flown in fresh from local fishermen to the kitchen.
To start, an amuse bouche of prawn with potato in a lovely rich chicken stock. It sets the scene nicely for my Devon scallops, nicely seared and cooked to just right all the way through. They are nestled into a lovely, sweet pumpkin puree with deep fried sage and a subtle lemon beurre blanc. It's not a pairing I would normally rush towards, but the pumpkin adds a nice autumnal depth to the dish, which works nicely during this bitterly cold London week.
|Dorset crab ravioli|
TPG's Dorset crab ravioli are plump parcels of sweet crab pocketted in perfectly cooked pasta atop buttered Savoy cabbage with a shellfish and tarragon sauce. It's rich and rustic, and a dish that has you closing your eyes and dreaming that you're right by the coastline.
|Wild sea bass|
My wild sea bass is moist and juicy and again - by now it's no surprise - there's perfect execution in the pan frying of the fish. It comes with sauteed potatoes which are just right in firmness, baby spinach, black prawns and a creamy fish sauce. It battles with the crab ravioli as dish of the night.
TPG might disagree - he's a major fan of his excellent classic Marsellaise Boullabaisse, with steamed new potato and braised baby leeks. There's at least 3 large pieces of fish in there and to say it's a hearty feast is an understatement. The flavours are bold, fresh and satisfying.
After quite an intoxicating gin and tonic sorbet as a palate cleanser, I move on to the fabulous hot apple and cinnamon souffle. It's a billowing treasure of light, fluffy goodness. The cinnamon is slightly too powerful for me, but TPG loves it. As good as it is, I think I prefer TPG's caramelised pear cheesecake. The caramelised pear is a wonderful match for the creamy, biscuity cheesecake.
|Apple & cinnamon souffle|
|Caramelised pear cheesecake|
There are non-fish items on the menu, like Welsh lamb and Kent venison, but this is a place to eat good fish and lots of it.
The wine list deserves a mention - it's very reasonably priced, and there are around 20 wines by the glass for between £3.50-£7.50. When the Stonier Chardonnay (listed for £33) is not available, the sommelier does a great job of guiding us through some matching wines for each of our courses by the glass. We can both be control freaks with our wine, but thoroughly enjoy each of his choices.
There are some downsides - although none of them apply to the food. First, the location - it's a cold night so the streets are quite deserted around this part of Butler's Wharf next to the London Helipad, between a new hotel and residential complex. It's a deserted position and I'm not sure what the potential is for passing pedestrian traffic along the Thames.
Secondly, the ambience. The restaurant is still new and the restaurant was close to empty - which is a travesty for food and wine of this quality. Also, I'm not sold on the stark decor - lime green and cold, granite fittings. A few crisp, white tablecloths would go a long way to making things more comforting.
The set lunch menu is £15, while dinner menus are set at 2 courses for £37.50, 3 courses for £45 and 6 courses for £55. These are steep prices for a restaurant with limited custom, but the cooking is so accomplished (and it's so rare to find fresh fish and execution done so expertly in London) that we both agree it's well worth the price tag assuming you enjoy each other's company enough to get past the ambience void.
If enough of you take me up on my recommendation to go and eat there, you might even find yourself creating the atmosphere that this place deserves. I look forward to returning with a bunch of friends, who I know will appreciate the quality food and wine list, and will create the noise required to lift the roof as the kitchen deserves.
The Fish Place,Vicentia Court, Butler's Wharf, Bridges Court Road, Battersea, SW11 3GY (Tel: 020 7095 0410)
Greedy Diva was a guest of The Fish Place.