Nine months ago, I was so fearful of fish I would take a longer route around the supermarket just to avoid the fish counter. However after a little persuasion and a recent trip to a town in Portugal where they seemed to serve nothing BUT fish, my fears were overcome and I finally started to understand the seafood craze.
Well, maybe with the exception of mackerel. Apologies to any Mackerel lovers but I’ll never understand your love of the fish. No matter how good it is for you.
Teenage back flashes aside I was delighted to receive an invitation from Fishers, based in Clifton Village, to come and try out their fishy menu. So after a hectic Tuesday in the office, I brought my Dad along for a three-course dinner.
Surrounded by nautical themed décor, a boat-themed window here, a black and white striped tablecloth there, my Dad and I were sat at a table for two beside the window which overlooked the well-known Princess Victoria Street. We then proceeded to order a cheeky Hendricks and tonic for me (my undisputed go-to beverage) and an elderflower presse for Dad (designated driver). The ambience was pleasantly relaxed, the staff helpful and friendly without going overkill. Yes, this can be done in some places. Trust me. Think of the Cheshire cat but in black tie.
To keep with the nautical themes and the general nature of the restaurant, we ordered a Deep-fried calamari with sweet chilli sauce (£6.50) for me and the Pan-fried Cornish King scallops with spinach, bacon & sauce Vierge (£10.95) for Dad. Both looked sublime in presentation and very generous in size. My calamari could have easily been a main meal and I should have left some but it tasted so good! The exterior was breaded and crispy and the sauce had a slight tang to liven up the palate.
My Dad wasn’t such a big fan of his scallops, though they were a wild card choice for him as he’d never had them before. That said Dad was impressed by how large his scallops were and the remaining juices made a great accompaniment to our basket of freshly made bread.
Onto the main event, swordfish and aubergine with a side of lightly seasoned new potatoes and steamed kale, my swordfish steak was lightly grilled but still delicate enough for the meat to fall away with the touch of my fork. A piece of grilled lemon placed to the side gave the steak a little more zing. Taste wise, the dish could have done with the addition of more diverse textures on the plate. It all felt a little soft and samey in taste when what I really wanted was a fusion of flavours, possibly with a layer of crispy, salted skin to set it all off.
Dad’s “proper” fish and chips (£12.50) certainly looked the part. A giant piece of beer-battered haddock sat atop a mound of rustic-style golden brown chips with a side of mushy peas (essential) and tartare sauce. I was drooling just looking at it, controlling my insatiable itch to nab a chip – or three – in Dad’s absence. The verdict on the plate was very positive, the fish was perfectly tender beneath its crispy exterior and the mushy peas had a delightful creamy texture to them.
Could we depart without tucking into the dessert menu? Of course not. Dad went for his favourite, a vanilla crème Brule with homemade shortbread (£5.75) whilst I settled on the warmed dark chocolate brownie with a dollop of vanilla ice cream (£5.75). Alas when compared to our former courses, we did feel the desserts fell a little short, offered more out of obligation than passion for what Fishers were serving.
My warmed brownie was flat and lacked the gooey inside which I look for; the vanilla ice cream worked nicely but again was nothing remarkable. Dad’s crème Brule fared better with a wafer-thin layer of fired caramel at the top and a pool of silky custard below. The homemade shortbread added a moreish crunch to each bite.
In all, we had a lovely start to our evening at Fishers, departing with (possibly) over-stocked bellies. What Fishers promise in both name and nature, they deliver. However there is still room for a little more experimentation. By changing up the way they season their fish and what they pair with it, Fishers could take their dishes to a whole new level but currently, they are playing it a little too safe. The food is good – but it could be excellent.
35 Princess Victoria Street, Clifton Village, Bristol, BS8 4BX
Please Note: Whilst our meals were complimentary, all opinions are my own and are not bias in any way, that’s not how we roll here!