As a fully-fledged Battersea resident, Hg2‘s very own Web Editor, Nick Clarke, knows all too well why locals call the area ‘the middle of nowhere.’ It’s not, of course, being just south of the River and only a stone’s throw from the super-fashionable King’s Road, but a distinct lack of Tube means that this corner of the city can feel very cut off from the rest of London. Which is why it was a surprise when an invitation arrived in our inbox to dine at Battersea’s latest opening, The Fish Place, found along the waterfront on Bridges Court Road. If you didn’t know it was there, nestled amidst the gleaming new developments that pretty much engulf it, you’d completely stroll by. Which is why it will rely on good reviews to lure serious foodies out of their comfort zone in the capital’s centre and into the depths of the unknown. But with a bed within stumbling distance, we, for one, didn’t need asking twice to check it out.
Aside from its admittedly soulless location (and that’s coming from someone who lives in the area), The Fish Place is, in fact, located in the perfect position for its purpose. By the water. After all, what kind of foodie or fisherman would trust a restaurant that prides itself on freshly-caught seafood if there wasn’t so much as a whiff of sea (or, in this case, river) air to speak of? Floor-to-ceiling glass windows make the most of the views from the first-floor dining room, which is sleek, sophisticated and understated by nonetheless stylish. Every surface is polished to pristine perfection, while the staff is just as well starched. The crowd, though admittedly small on the evening we reviewed, was a mixed bunch of open-collared businessmen and -women clinking glasses and winding down after a day in a (presumably) nearby office. But it was relaxed, informal and – dare we say it? – trendy.
Thankfully, the mouthwatering menu lives up to its promise and packs a serious punch with a variety of fish that is flown in each and every day via Battersea Helipad (which sits just next door). While diners have the option of the £15/18.50 two- or three-course lunch and £50 tasting menus, we instead opted for the à la carte. Starters comprised of Dorset crab raviloi and sautéed river dart mussels; the first was utterly delicious, with earthy-tasting crab meat encased within delicate pasta pockets, while the second was perfect for those who like their mussels fishier than normal and with a surprising hint of spice. For mains we chose the pan-seared wild sea bass served with sautéed potatoes, pink prawns and and sea purslane fish sauce. The crispy skin and fleshy, flaky fillet proved that fish is indeed the raison d’être here. The pot au feu of seafood was excellent, too, and combines musell risotto, sea bass, salmon and prawns for the perfect plate for indecisive seafood fanatics. The wine list is also extensive, with good-quality wine on offer for no more than £20 per bottle and many offered by the glass for those who do need to walk a little further to reach home. Naturally, we went with a light and zesty Sauvignon Blanc to enhance the delicate flavours of the fish.
While it will take some time for it to be packed to the rafters, now that The Fish Place has been built we have every faith they they will come. Even to Battersea.
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