I love my rare steak
but really and truly, I would go pescatarian if I could. So when I found an OpenTable dining cheque that was about to expire last Monday, I knew I wanted to go to a seafood restaurant.
By the way, can OpenTable please list places where we CAN use our dining cheques instead of where we CAN’T? It would be so much easier that way.
To my delight, you can use rewards cheques at Fishworks on Swallow Street. I’ve been meaning to try the restaurant for a while now, so I took my buddy B to have a meatless Monday dinner with me.
If it isn’t too obvious, the restaurant is dedicated to serving sea bounty from shellfish to molluscs to fins and tails.
There’s a wet fish counter as you walk in, but thankfully it doesn’t smell like you’re visiting your local fishmongers. The seafood is fresh, seasonal and mostly sourced in the UK (particularly in Devon and the south coast).
Here’s (dinner) looking at you, kid.
The place has a smart elegance to it; its interior design is aesthetically pleasing with a sophisticated but relaxed vibe. There’s a bar tucked by a corner while wine racks surround the area and serve as a divider. Blackboards with daily specials cover some walls (although handwriting can be difficult to read!)
B and I are both champagne fiends so we ordered a bottle of R de Ruinart (£79) to share. We were feeling rather celebratory that night…
…because this little girl has a new job. Teehee.
But I’ll tell you more about that later 😉
To start our seafood dinner, I opted for the steamed mussels (£7.25) with white wine, garlic, lemon thyme and shallots. The mussels were delightfully fat and had a great chew on them. The white wine sauce really brought out its delicate taste, subtly briny and almost earthy.
And yes, I was clean eating all the way!
B had the Brixham fish soup (£6.25) which was perfect for the winter weather but reminded me of summer in Cassis. Served with cheesy, buttered croutons and a pot of rouille, I thought it was good but did not have as much depth as I would have wanted.
B ordered the oven-roasted sea bass with fresh lemon thyme, olive oil and Cornish sea salt (£15.95) for mains which can be served filleted or on the bone. B’s came filleted despite not being asked (so make sure you tell them how you want it when you order!). It was a fresh, clean plate of fish cooked and seasoned nicely. Something healthy people would appreciate!
I couldn’t decide on anything from the a la carte menu (I wanted everything!) but when I looked at the daily specials and saw they had hake steak (£21.75) I knew I had to have it.
The steak of hake was a hefty portion but it was beautifully seasoned and cooked with some of the skin crisped, giving it a lovely texture. The fish flaked off so nicely and was juicy all the way through. The only think I wasn’t too keen on was the creamed leeks which I found a bit over-spiced and overpowering.
We were rather full by the time we finished our mains and when our neighbouring table’s desserts came we realised they were of gargantuan portions that even our eyes felt too full to stomach them. So we just sipped our bubbles and chatted the night away.
Fishworks on Swallow Street is pretty cool, I think. It’s a really nice space and food was fresh and very well prepared. Service was warm and the ambience is very chilled out. It’s a place where you can take your parents, your buddies, your dates or your colleagues. I’ll definitely be back, perhaps on Meatless Mondays!
B and I weren’t too ready to go home yet so we went to Novikov for more cocktails… but that’s another story to tell!
Overall, a really good day to celebrate good news.
7-9 Swallow St, London W1B
Ave spend pp: £50