Over in East London, where shabby is chic and undone is king, it can be easy to forget about the more gilded, decadent pockets of the city. Pockets where people spend £15 million on refurbishing restaurants and filling them with Damien Hirst artwork; where boiled eggs are eaten with chopsticks, and where everyone is in a permanent wind tunnel of youth. Sexy Fish was one of the city's hottest openings and continues to keep chins wagging, a restaurant where more is more and being unpolished is a cardinal sin.
The Venue & Atmosphere
Sexy Fish is Mayfair condensed into two Iranian Esmeralda onyx marble floors. Located in a former NatWest banking hall, the restaurant is utterly outrageous and completely brilliant. Ahead of Chelsea Flower Show, the venue is particularly blooming with an outside wall of fresh flowers and waiters - who have most probably appeared on Naomi Campbell's’ The Face - dressed in floral waistcoats and dresses. Inside, not a single inch has been left unconsidered, the ceiling was designed by the Vanity Fair style editor, huge fish lamps created by legendary Frank Gehry hang above the bar, and a 13ft wire crocodile glistens on a back wall.
Having just launched a new brunch menu, the Sunday crowd reads like a who’s who of Instagram influencers; Nick Grimshaw is behind the decks, Henry Holland relaxes in a booth and Victoria Secret’s Model Leomie Anderson is on one of the tables. The huge French windows are thrown open showing the well-heeled of Berkeley Square and a mash of house and chart music blasts.
Food & Drink
Sexy Fish bills itself as an Asian Fusion restaurant and brunch was a huge face-stuffing affair, with a menu that listed sharing plates, large dishes and brunch options. As soon as we ordered, a seemingly endless carousel of plates were artfully placed on our tiny table. The more we ate, the more that seemed to arrive, though when food is this tasty who am I to complain? This is Mayfair, where devouring is done with eyes and Sexy Fish’s plates were equally as delicious to look at with shark shaped toast, a black muffin flavoured with charcoal and tiny cubes of watermelon placed on top of a mound of ice chips.
Knives and forks were nowhere to be seen; instead chopsticks were our weapon, a particularly tricky feat when tackling the poached egg topped with great chunks of lobster and a creamy hollandaise (£26), but worth the effort. The menu is full of similarly rich and decadent dishes; Pepper Crusted Wagyu Tataki (£38.60) was morsel bites of tissue-paper soft beef - the meat's tenderness alleged achieved by massaging and feeding the cows beer. The Chunky Tuna Tartare (£15.60) was also standout, with a combination of chilli, sweet pineapple and fresh fish along with that infamous shark-shaped bread.
Our waiter assured us that the cheesecake (£22) was the best thing he’d ever tasted, and designed for two, a huge wheel size cake appeared. Topped with strawberries and caramel popcorn, he was not wrong as an ice-cream thick and sugar-sweet cream filling sat on top of crunchy biscuits. Wash it all down with one of Sexy Fish’s brunch cocktails; A Spritz (£15) was the bar’s boozier and drier take on the classic, with a mixture of gin, French aperitif Amer Picon, lime, elderflower and prosecco.
Sexy Fish is unapologetically opulent, it’s loaded, it’s over the top and it doesn’t give a damn - which is exactly why it works. As Australian millionaire Tim Gurner told millennials last week, we should all stop buying avo on toast and drinking lattes to get on the housing ladder; let’s be honest, none of us are owning a home anytime soon. If you’re going to spend a house deposit’s worth of money on brunch, you may as well do it in unapologetic, glorious and unforgettable style at Sexy Fish.