"It's not much but it's ours"

Thursday, February 01, 2007


We’ve been eating a lot of meat recently. Well, we’ve been in Germany so of course we have. They are not exactly known for their vegetarian wurst now are they?

So, when we decided it had been four days since our last meal out and that this was a shameful thing, we opted for fish.

HP suggested Fish Bone in Fitzrovia which has had some good crit for its F&C’s. That made me think of Back To Basics, a Fitzrovia stalwart which I have walked past any number of times but have never actually got round to visiting. I won.

HP had a gym session which, I suspect, involves a lot of him sweating (and not in a good way and, I am certain, with with no one ever moaning “you’re the best”) so I had to wait for him to get home and shower before we could head out. That meant a late-ish table at around 9pm.

Normally, that’s not a bad thing. But, in a fish restaurant which is predicated on serving only it’s daily menu it does mean your choices are limited if you turn up later in the evening. So it was when we arrived bang on time to see more lines on the “daily catch” blackboard than on a supermodel's dining room table.

Still, there were enough things left for us to choose from and, after a Bittburger beer, we chose our usual three starters.

For HP, half a dozen oysters for a paltry £7.95. I can’t eat them but, he declared them very good although he disliked the fact they had already been dressed with chopped chive.

I dipped into a slightly old school Crab Thermidore which, heavy with brown meat, was very good indeed.

Best of all, however, was a plate of house made Gravadlax served with plenty of capers and a perfectly decent dill mayonnaise.

HP, of course, demanded something deep fried for his main course and the only offering was Dover Sole which came perfectly prepared, piping hot in a crisp bread crumb. He was right, though. Such a fish gains little from such a preparation and it could well have been any fish, lemon sole for example would have been just as suitable. Very good tartare sauce though, thick with capers.

My main course was better. A good slab of smoked haddock with a salad of spinach and bacon in a mustard dressing all topped with a poached egg. Able cooking and all cooked just to point.

We were not in the mood for the puddings which looked very uninteresting so just got our bill. A whacking great £99 including 12.5% service.

Yep, we had three starters and yep, we had a beer beforehand. But, we had two courses, no pudding and a cheap ( £16.95 ) bottle of nondescript Picpoul, We were hardly pushing the boat out. So, this was an extraordinarily expensive meal for cooking that while more than acceptable was no more than neighbourhood level.

Location is everything, I guess and, if I could afford to live in Fitzrovia, it might be worth popping into of an evening. Those of us who have to rough it in the more bohemian district of SOSHO, however, will just have to make do with Fish Central.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just moved to a place around the corner from Back to Basics - and always wondered what this restaurant would be like. I'd normally go out with my partner, but £99 is well beyond my expectations for this little place - not sure I'm tempted to go anymore :(

Friday, February 02, 2007 2:30:00 pm  
Blogger John Flood said...

I think it's necessary to realise that fish is more expensive than meat. It's a fact of life, so you are going to pay more than if you'd had a steak. I've eaten at Back to Basics a number of times and it is possible to eat for less. Perhaps the three starters for two people is a little much?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007 7:38:00 pm  

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