The welcome: No restaurant before has ever drawn quite so much attention to the aphrodisiac quality of the food served within its doors, but then Richard Caring, whose establishment this is, has never been a restaurateur bothered by procedure – nor, for that matter, received conventions of good taste. Instead, the snappily efficient staff (‘do you have a reservation this evening, sir?’) are friendly and polite, although the briskness of the welcome and the speed with which tables are turned reminds you that this is not a place for relaxation.
Sexy Fish – the ultimate Marmite description – is placing itself very much in the high end. This is not a restaurant that’s going to be offering lunchtime deals or discounts. It’s instead going for a full-on, thrilling experience, with top-notch food, brilliant cocktails, supremely confident service and the panache that comes from a restaurateur who knows the business inside out. For some, it may all be de trop, but that’s part of the fun. This is London dining in 2016, and it is firing on all cylinders.
The room: Most restaurants don’t have a Frank Gehry crocodile on the wall, nor bamboozling Damien Hirst murals around you. If your idea of fine dining is murmuring around linen tablecloths, you will be disappointed. Instead, swap that for a buzzy Berkeley Square location with lashings of A-list celebrities (is that Sam Taylor-Johnson on the next door table?) and the sort of top-notch cuisine that you would associate with chefs who have learnt their trade at the exalted likes of Nobu, Hakkasan and Zuma.
The food: It is, of course, far from cheap. One would struggle to have a three-course meal here for much less than £150 including service, and that’s before some of the wilder reaches of the wine list. The sommelier hints at £750 bottles of ‘very lovely Chardonnay’; for that amount of money, one would expect Caring himself to appear at your table to pour you a glass. Nonetheless, a rather humbler bottle of Argentinean Torrontes (£36) was far from bad, and it left plenty of time to contemplate the menu.
The food, as you might expect, is very strong indeed. Most of the bases are covered, with some flair. Sashimi of yellowtail is delicious, as is maki of crispy prawn. The prices are high, but then so is the quality. Crispy squid at £9 is no more expensive than some deeply inferior places, Main courses of monkfish tail with béarnaise sauce and miso-coated sea bass are superb, although you will want to order a couple of salads; grilled avocado with tofu and charred tomatoes do the job exceptionally well, although the two together will cost the best part of £25.
Would we go again? If we could get a reservation, and had very deep pockets, sure.
|What||Sexy Fish restaurant review|
|Where||Sexy Fish, Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London , W1J 6BR | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
16 May 16 – 23 Feb 17, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to book your table|