Sitting appropriately at the water’s edge, The Fish Place makes the most of its riverside position with view-capturing glass frontage on the first floor (and riverside outdoor seating come the warmer months). In fact, once the wines start to be poured and the smell of cooking fish leaks from the kitchen, you could almost forget the Thames and believe you were at the seaside.
Sadly, the reality of the location is less attractive. The Fish Place lies well off the beaten track around the back of Clapham Junction station on previously industrial land that now boasts a large complex of new-build apartments, a hotel, the London Heliport and very little else. It’s certainly up and coming, but hasn’t got there yet.
Welcomed into the very new looking dining room with a spoon-based scallop canapé and a hefty selection of fresh breads, it’s clear that more effort has been put into the food offerings than coming up with a name for the place. It’s also clear that The Fish Place is going for the whole fine-dining experience, with table settings and attentive staff giving a high-end impression.
The food lives up to the image. A perfectly cooked fillet of seabass with crispy skin, prawns and a sea purslane sauce is great in its simplicity, whilst a fish soup overflowing with pernod and shellfish stock thrives on its complex flavours. Generously filled crab ravioli with savoy cabbage has a sauce that tastes very like the soup, but that’s no hardship; and a suitably sour lemon tart with basil ice cream goes down even more easily.
The Fish & Wine Place, as it could be better called, offers no fewer than twenty wines by the glass, starting from just £4.50. They even offer a wine club, through which they sell cases of wine at a very fair cost price + 10%.
Despite some seriously good food, we reckon that £45 for three courses without wine is a bit on the steep side considering the less than central location. If you’re in the area, make the most of the introductory £15 for two courses lunch offer, otherwise bear it in mind for a special occasion and splash out on the good value seven course tasting menu for £55. There’s also a bar in the pipeline, and when that’s open we know we’ll be heading down for a few glasses of vino by the sea. Sorry, river.
The Fish Place is at Vicentia Court, Bridges Court Road, SW11 3GY, next to the heliport just off Lombard Road. If you look at Google Maps, it’s in completely the wrong place. Unless you have a helicopter, Clapham Junction is the easiest way to get there. Visit the website to see the full menu.