Great once you find it…dinner at the Fish Place in Battersea
I went to The Fish Place for dinner with a German (well, she grew up there) friend of mine, not long ago and since we were having some rather substantial fish dishes, I asked Artan, (the manager) who was serving us, to bring us an interesting wine. He brought a 2005 riesling from the Nahe, the Tesch Lohrer Berg Riesling spatlese trocken. A VDP wine, which means it’s a member of a select group of Germany’s top winemakes, the Weingut Tesch has been in existence since 1723.
When the wine was poured, the first thing that hit me were notes of petrol and lots of it. Yes, just what a German riesling with a few years on it should have. “Ewww! Is it any good?” asked Funda, my dining companion. I was a bit surprised but apparently not all Germans find that petrol-like aroma agreeable (actually, a lot of people don’t find it very agreeable but The Winesleuth does). There goes another national stereotype down the tubes. The Tesch however, displayed plenty of those classic German riesling characteristics of toast, paraffin, wax, petrol, quince and passionfruit. Lovely balanced wine with an oily mouthfeel (again not a hit with Funda) and still very lively, this was a great wine (for me) for dinner. I took pity on Funda and ordered an albariño which she found much more agreeable.
The Albariño is produced by the Eidosela winery in Rias Baixas and was 100% albariño. The 2009 was fresh and fruity, peach and apricot dominating with a good body, excellent acidity and despite the very ripe nose, pleasingly dry. I still preferred the riesling with our meal but the albariño was good match as well.The wine list is made up of wines that the restaurant thinks goes best with fish and is a selection of Old and New World white wines with plenty of light to medium bodied red wines to choose from as well. Who says you can’t have red wine with fish?
So what did we eat? It was hard to choose, the menu wasn’t extensive but had a mouth-watering selection of starters and mains. Artan told us that the fish comes fresh every day and today’s special was sea bream. One sea bream please. To start, we ordered the lobster canneloni which was delicious, full of fresh lobster and mussels with a thai chilli cream sauce which we couldn’t eat fast enough, they were so good. It was a huge portion but we managed to gulp them down in no time flat. There was loads of fresh coriander liberally sprinkled over the mussles which was only enhanced by the riesling. If you like coriander, this is the dish for you. We scooped up the last of the sauce with our mussel spoons and waited for the mains.
In between we were served an elderflower sorbet as a palate cleanser and then the main event. I had a spinach and crab pie which was kind of like a seafood shepherd’s pie or maybe you could call it a crab wrangler pie, either way, it hit the spot, sweet succulent crab pieces on a bed of spinach with crispy mash on top, served in the body of the crab – I ate the entire thing.
Funda liked the sea bream a lot but it was a bit too “fishy” for me. I know, it’s fish but I prefer the daintier fish of the sea. Perfectly cooked, so she said and served on a bed of sauteed spinach and risotto with fried plantains – I did like those plantains, I managed to grab one when she wasn’t looking.
The good thing about seafood, there’s always room for dessert or, in our case, cheese! A plate of 4 cheeses, a stilton, Brie, Chevril and Montgomery cheddar paired with a 10 yr old tawny port- a very civilized way to end a meal. They have a small selection of ports and after dinner drinks as well as a few whiskeys on their list.
The food was great and I loved the view from The Fish Place. Although it’s a bit off the beaten path (it’s close to the Battersea Heliport. What? You didn’t know there was one in Battersea?) It’s well worth the trek and a great place next to the River Thames to watch the sun go down and all those crazy SW London runners passing by on the embankment. I’d also like to mention that in my eternal quest to find a well made Manhattan in London, The Fish Place does a fantastic job of mixing one up properly.
They have daily lunch specials ( 2 courses for £15 or 3 for £18.50) and entree prices ranged from £17.50 – £25. Check their website for specials and seafood festivals this summer. They have tables outside facing the river which I think is one of the best ways to have a meal in London ( as long as it’s not raining!). The Fish Place is a bit hard to find but you’ll be glad you made the effort- just follow the helicopters…
The Fish Place is located at: