Located just a hop, skip and twinkle-toed jump from Covent Garden station sits FishWorks, a classy eatery specialising in all things seafood. Claimed to be one of London's best spots for marine-faring grub, the restaurant's also garnered popularity for its sustainable ethos and fresh produce delivered daily. As an avid fan of all things ocean-dwelling - from boil in the bags to a stinky mackerel - I had to see for myself. *SPOILER* if you don't like fish, you've come to the wrong place.
Fronted by an actual fish counter displaying attention-grabbing critters, there's certainly no confusion over what this place specialises in. Blackboards are dotted around the restaurant noting the Catch Of The Days along with various prices and weights. There's even a resident fishmonger. Somehow, FishWorks manages to turn a working market into an elegant dining venue, with decor such as white-tiled walls and naval frills. A stunning marble-topped bar and counter-side seating give diners the option to watch their meal being prepped and cooked from the open kitchen.
Perhaps a little close to the action for our liking, we opted for a table in the main dining room, buzzing with groups of fellow fish-lovers and theatre-goers. Succulent and meaty hand-dived scallops topped with breadcrumbs and Pernod (£13) kickstarted the night's proceedings, arriving in their shells for added effect. Delicious, bold and rich, the plate was perfectly accompanied by a light and dry bottle of Pouilly-Fumé (£40).
Succumbing to my glut, the grilled seafood platter (£27) saw me tucking into a quartet of marine delicacies. Oh well, there’s plenty more fish in the sea. Sea bream and bass were simply charcoaled, whilst dreamy chilli ginger prawns and a welcome return of the Pernod scallops injected some much-appreciated flavour and lifted the whole dish.
My aquatic-fanatic comrade chose a halibut (price dependent on market price) from the blackboard's Catch Of The Days, which in itself was an experience. After deciding on the weight, the fish in question was brought over raw, to confirm and discuss cooking preference: in this case, grilled. Beautifully served up without any sides, tenderstem broccoli with shallots and almonds (£5) and new potatoes with minted butter (£4) were needed to complete the meal. Ending on a sweet note, a hot sticky chocolate brownie and pistachio ice cream (£6.75) were a match made in heaven.
The DesignMyNight Digest
If you're looking for seafood cooked at its finest, FishWorks is the restaurant for you. Don't expect any weird or wacky Heston Blumenthal-style cooking techniques or unusual additions. At this West End venue, the emphasis is all on accentuating the taste of the fish, not overpowering it or creating new flavours, which it does wonderfully.