So you thought you’d seen it all, eh? From a cereal café to a cat emporium via restaurants in loos and places that serve only polenta, London isn’t short of the odd quirky eatery or three dozen. But we dare say this could be the strangest concept yet.
Tincan is the brainchild of architect company AL_A and it will serve only tinned fish for the duration of its six month residency on Soho’s Upper James Street.
The architect team apparently came across a similar restaurant in Lisbon while on a job: it was housed in a former fishing tackle shop and served only tinned fish. So inspired by it were they that they decided to open their own version in London — just for the halibut, so it would seem.
The menu at Tincan features 28 different types of tinned fish, all of which are served with bread and salad, as well as optional condiments such as parsley or chilli. Prices start from £7 for more common tinned fish, and rise to £28 a pop for a tin of wild red tuna, which is better known as blue-fin tuna and is rare and ethically very dubious at best [*see update below].
Despite this, we’re told the tins are all sourced from small companies with sustainability in mind. Most come from Portugal and Spain, though there are also options from further afield.
Other tins include anchovies, baby sardines, calamari in ink, clams, cockles, cod liver, mackerel, mussels, octopus and scallops.
Being opened by an architecture company, the design of the space is central to the concept — and it’s no coincidence that the opening coincides with London Design Festival, either. Everything from the tables and chairs to the light fittings have been designed especially, while the prettily painted tins that line the walls and windows are the focal point. The architects’ blurb describes the space as bringing “the culture and sensibility of an architect's studio to a restaurant”, which we think means they’re using it as a showroom of sorts.
The restaurant is open from midday to 11pm Monday to Thursday, and 11am to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, allowing plenty of time to get your tinned fish fix. It doesn’t take reservations, though frankly we’re not expecting the biggest queues down the street.
Will this brave new concept get Londoners hooked and become the plaice to be seen, or is it just a load of pollocks? Let minnow what you think of this scaled-back concept in the comments below.
We’ll stop carping on now. Visit the Tincan website for more information.
*UPDATE: After publishing this article Londonist received this message from the shop: “When we selected wild red tuna for Tincan’s menu we were assured by our supplier that it was sourced using the most sustainable, traditional methods. This has since been questioned, so we have therefore removed it from the menu. We apologise for the mistake, and are reviewing our menu once again to ensure this is not repeated.”