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Fish! Diner & Shop
Cathedral Street
Borough Market

Central Reservations 020-7234 3333
Central reservations fax:: 020 - 7234 3343
Shop Orders: 020 - 7407 3801

Web site:

Lunchtime was beckoning and we were determined to push the boat out. We had not managed to get out for a meal and drink, to discuss old times and to put the world to rights, for nearly eighteen months. So something special was in order.

My good old chum Gordon can usually be relied upon to come up with the goods. He suggested Fish! which he reliably informed me was a recent and up and coming restaurant, that had been getting some good reviews since it had been established. We were a little uncertain whether we would be able to get a seat without booking in advance, nevertheless we decided to give it a try, as it was only just round the corner.

Fish! Is located near London Bridge, adjacent to Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market (just behind Borough High Street). It is an unusual and eye-catching building that is like a large glass conservatory. We circled the building which bore some resemblance to a goldfish bowl, looking for the way in. We eventually stumbled on the entrance after almost a whole circuit (we should have gone round the other way). We were met in a rather hi-tech reception, where somebody was tapping away on a PC for some reason. We were asked if we had a reservation, which we hadn’t, and were told we were lucky. We were led to our places, which were side-by-side on a bar facing the kitchen area, which was open plan and gave the perfect opportunity to watch the food being prepared and the army of chefs scurrying around doing what chefs do.

Not surprisingly Fish! Is a fish and seafood restaurant. However there is some ‘omnivore’ food on the menu too. The menu is laid out on the table and serves as your place mat. Not only can you order a meal to eat in the restaurant you can also order fresh fish to take away as well. I didn’t fancy carting a dead halibut back to Cheshire on the train so I just went for the meal.

There is a selection of starters including mussels, devilled whitebait and other tempting alternatives. There is a selection of dishes for main course including fish cakes, lobster and good old cod, chips and mushy peas. The main feature is the list of fish, more comprehensive than an angler’s handbook. From sea bass and bream through John Dory to scallops and turbot. Not all of these happen to be available at the same time of course. The ones that are on that day are marked. It was actually a bit of bad luck because the fish that I really do like which include halibut and turbot were not on. There is a choice of how you would like your fish prepared and also a choice of what sauce you would like with it. So you can have it grilled or steamed and served with salsa, hollandaise sauce, herb butter, olive oil dressing or a red wine fish gravy.

Gordon went for the cod, chips and mushy peas, I went for John Dory, grilled with some herb butter, served with green vegetables. The meal came and I suddenly became a bit envious of his choice. There was a large golden brown battered cod, with some perfect looking chips and luminous mushy peas. However, I had made my choice and it still lived up to expectations of taste if not portion size. I had two fillets of fish, perfectly grilled with a crispy skin on the outside which made separation of the flesh and skin a doddle. The vegetables consisted mostly of pak choi, which were prepared by filling tightly in a small basket and immersing quickly so as not to be overdone.

The wine list is basic, we chose a house sauvignon blanc at 9.90, that  came well chilled and eminently drinkable. In fact too drinkable! We then ordered puddings, Gordon had the chocolate bread and butter pudding and I had the sticky toffee pudding. We then had coffee, and then rather perversely, decided the sauvignon was so good we would treat ourselves to another bottle just to round up proceedings.

So well fed and well oiled we settled up. The bill came to 62 for 2, perhaps more than we would normally choose to spend on lunch, but then we did reckon on trying something special. The total bill also included a 12.5% service charge, which is optional.

Overall Fish! Is a lively new concept and deserves some accolade by providing a specialist product in innovative surroundings. I enjoyed spectating at the hussle and bussle behind the scenes, it all added to the ambience. My view is to try it for yourself, but be prepared, it isn’t cheap.



Eatanddrink Ratings

Fish! Diner

Total Score: 66%
Quality: Good
Service: Good
Facilities: Average
Ambience: Average
Value: Good

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