Mr Silver knows he has a rather demanding wife who has high expectations for everything, particularly her birthday. Well, he married me and now he has to put up with me…
He’s well aware that the choice of venue for our special birthday date night is an important decision that rests heavy on his shoulders and fortunately as his birthday is only five weeks before mine I’d already set the standard by taking him to Zuma. But this year ‘the boy did good’ and booked the hottest ticket in town. The latest restaurant by Caprice Holdings: Sexy Fish. And with a name like that you know they’ll be setting the bar high.
And talking of the bar…
I loved the design with water cascading down the wall and rather abstract fish sculptures suspended from the ceiling. In fact I loved the overall design of the place, with a name like ‘Sexy Fish’ I had feared the interior would be obnoxious and blingy but actually it retains the classic look characteristic of Caprice Group restaurants such as The Ivy and Scott’s but sexed up with a funky mermaid mural by Damian Hurst dominating the back wall and a glittering crocodile on another.
The place was packed, with just the right amount of people and music at just the right level, Sexy Fish has that ‘vibe’ that is impossible to fake and hard to create. Mr Silver and I exchanged knowing glances, so far it was living up to some of our favourite places.
My birthday fell conveniently on a Saturday this year but we decided to save that for the party night and have our date night on my birthday eve. With Sexy Fish being such a hot ticket, our reservation was a late one, 10pm. I don’t mind a late dinner but I hate sitting at home and waiting to go out, so a few drinks at the bar were a prerequisite. Always keen to cut the calories I went for a Skinny cocktail containing prosecco and yuzu, which had a bittersweet flavour that I loved. Mr S’s choice, a Kalamasutra Martini, bore a strong resemblance to a Porn Star Martini, a passion fruit cocktail with a shot of champers.
My next drink was a glass of champers but Mr S went for a Bruce Tea, a smoky Tequila-based drink served in a teapot. It was too strong for me but Mr S enjoyed it as we chatted to the bar man about the innovative cocktail list which is inspired by four corners of Asia. We also discovered that the restaurant has the largest Japanese whisky collection in the UK, encompassing 130 bottles, making it the third largest in the world.
When 10pm struck, I was more than ready for food and as soon as we sat down our friendly waiter supplied us with some much needed edamame beans…
And we quenched our thirst with a bottle of Ruinart, though there are an impressive 32 different bottles of champagne available by the bottle. Food at Sexy Fish is Asian inspired and as you might imagine, the menu is dominated by seafood. The waiter advised that around three dishes each for sharing would be about the right amount and I quickly fixed on ordering the Sexy Roll from the raw section of the menu.
I was prepared for a sushi feast and so I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more sushi options on the menu and Sexy Roll was actually just three types of fish in Vietnamese rice paper. Low Carb, yes. Tasty, yes. But Sexy? I’m not sure about that.
We nearly always order a sashimi selection and we received beautiful prepared raw fish on ice. The salmon and yellowtail were delicious but the tuna stood out for the buttery flavour.
Crab salad was light and prettily presented in a silver fish dish though once again, I’ve tasted some truly stand out Asian salads and this one didn’t have that little something extra that I was hoping for.
Lobster tempura was beautifully prepared with a light, crispy and non-greasy batter but the side of mayonnaise was rather unexciting. I would have loved to taste something spicy and a hint of yuzu in the dressing, like the delicious tempura shrimp at SushiSamba. Where was this extra dash of ‘sexiness’ that the name of the restaurant promised?
Much better were the scallops with jalapeno and pickled apple, a more innovative dish with punchy flavour and a huge injection of sex appeal.
Miso-glazed Chilean sea bass is a favourite of ours and at Sexy Fish it’s served with artichokes, it was very tasty and not a combination I see often in Asian restaurants. It was beautifully cooked and preparation and execution are not the problem it’s that the dishes don’t live up to anticipation. They called the restaurant Sexy Fish not Quite Nice Fish.
My mind had been on the chocolate fondant for dessert which I’d read about in Mehreen’s review, but my choice had already been made when our chirpy waiter bought out marshmallow concoction bearing birthday greetings!
Bless Mr S for incorporating the blog name into my tasty birthday treat!
So in summary what did I think to the London’s latest hotspot? I so wanted to love it, I’m even a fan of the rather brazen name of the place. Service, atmosphere and decor definitely lived up to the promise but the food needs a good injection of sex appeal and innovation to live up to rivals such as Roka, Zuma and Hakkasan. That’s not to say it’s bad…it’s almost there; I don’t usually give scores or ratings on this blog but to give you an idea of what I mean I’d say its 7/10. I would I go back but I hope some of the other dishes on the menu will give it that punch of excitement present in all other aspects of the place.
Berkeley Square House
020 3764 2000