The Wet Fish Cafe in West Hampstead has been on our radar of must-check-out places for quite a while now. However, the occasion never appeared – until now. My sister and her boyfriend were visiting and wanted to go somewhere nice. It being the day before Valentine’s day we decided to call and try to book before we left home. They said there wasn’t any space. Luckily we made our way there anyways, and a table was free!
Similar to the Walnut, another West Hampstead restaurant we visited a few months ago, the place is quite small with very good use of the space there is. Also, the kitchen is quite open and a bit raised from the restaurant floor. This being Valentine’s day’s eve, the lighting was low with candles flickering all around, setting a cozy and intimate mood as soon as you enter.
Having sat and settled down, we awaited the menus to see what treats lay ahead. It seems like there weren’t enough menus to go around, as it took a bit more that normal to get them. But as soon as the table next to us were finished with theirs they were promptly brought over to us.
Choices, choices, choices! I’m never good at making up my mind, and the options here definitely didn’t help. But I had to decide, so I opted for a tapas platter to share with Michael and my sister, and for a main I chose lamb rump (with chestnut crust, braised red cabbage and dauphinoise potatoes). Bernard opted for the day’s special spinach soup for a starter, and the other mains chosen were confit duck (C), tiger prawns (B), and pollock (M).
Orders made, food was awaited! It arrived in a timely fashion this time too. The stuff on the tapas platter was delicious. On ordering we were told that there was no chorizo and that it would be substituted with goat cheese. That was definitely an added bonus and possibly the favourite of all three of us (not a bonus for me!). My sister also really liked the squid, though they didn’t do as much for me. These were probably the brightest stars amid very starry neighbours!
Once our plates were cleared, we could then relax with some wine and conversation. Unlike most times we eat out, this time round we were not in a rush to run off to somewhere else, which meant we could enjoy the relaxed pace of the evening as required (rather than either us wanting to rush out, or the restaurant rushes us out). The mains soon made their appearance.
My lamb rump was superb, particularly the chestnut crust). I was not sure what to expect when I read it on the menu. The crunch is provided against the tenderness of the meat was very much an appreciated combination! The other two items on the plate were good too, though nothing to write home about for me. In their defence, I don’t think they would have ever impressed me, as none of them are items I would opt for individually. The mutters around the table though showed that all the others were as satisfied with their choices as I was.
The final dilemma was then the dessert. All of us though seemed to agree on this one, and we ordered three pear & frangipane tart (Michael and I decided to be good and share one). The cointreau mascarpone was a bit too tart for my liking, but that’s me trying to find fault with it!
Having had a great evening we said our goodbyes to the lovely staff at the restaurant and made our way home. It was a perfect way to end the weekend, and a restaurant to be revisited again and again (though not the easiest on the pocket!) So who’s up for the next visit?