FISH CENTRAL: MUSHY PEAS? MUSHY EVERYTHING
After our F&C fest up North recently, both HP and myself fancied a bit more fish action and decided on an early supper at FISH CENTRAL.
I have oft been a proponent of FC as a decent example of London's attempts to do Fish & Chips which, while not getting within shouting distance of those in the north of the country, can still fill the appropriate gap at the appropriate moment.
A shame really that this time it turned out to be so definingly bleh. Was it because it was early in the evening? Was it because it was early in the week? Not a clue. What I do know was that it was always too early for mushy fish.
Arriving bang on 7pm, the place was already far from empty. We were seated at a table for four next to a group of cab drivers all sitting about two feet from their table, or forced to because of the size of their bellys and all proudly bearing their chains of office resting on chains upon said bellys. It is that sort of place.
Originally just a takeaway place, FC was refurbished a couple of years ago into a fully functioning fish restaurant and, although it still has a thriving take away business, the restaurant now attracts a varied mix of clientele and offers a wide variety of fish and seafood. The menu is quite big. In fact, literally a yard long.
On past visits, it has been really rather good. Tonight. Really not. HP made the basic mistake of going away from the tried and tested basics and ordered a half lobster special for £6.95. What came was a half shell with barely any meat along side an undressed bunch of salad leaves. My chilli squid, one of their standards was as decent as always. Properly cooked with a little bite but not rubbery and with a decent amount of heat in the sauce.
For main courses, we went back on track and HP ordered Haddock and Chips with Mushy Peas. I ordered Cod, but this time cooked in Matzo meal. Following the advice of the comments on my last F&C post. I also ordered a salad with it. Stupid I know, but I was going to order char grilled halibut and have the salad with it, but at the last moment the northern lad in me took over and I veered back towards deep fried. Curse me and my transfatty background.
The side dishes turned out to be the best part of the meal. Excellent peas, good crispy chips and excellent tartare sauce. The salad was a risible as you would expect a salad ordered in a chippie to be. The real shame was the fish. At first glance it looked good (if HP thought it was smaller portionage than usual ) with crisp batter. But, unfortunately, underneath, rather than flakey fish, it was as mushy and soft as a care Bear movie with Bambi guest starring.
And not cheap either. Today, with a bottle of Draino, well Australian Semillion Chardonay which equates to drinking the same thing, the bill came to £45 inc tip. A far cry from the £20 that fed four of us so splendidly a few weeks ago.
More fool us.