Sea Fish Restaurant Review – Upper Street, Islington N1
Published 25 October 2009
While the UK is known for its famous fish and chips, I can’t imagine the disappointment of tourists coming to London expecting to sink their teeth into delicious, light battered cod or haddock. Most of the fish and chips sold in pubs taste like it was a frozen ready meal heated up in the oven. In addition, whilst there is no lack of restaurants serving good food in London, there is a major dearth of good fish and chip shops that serve quality food and not just an anonymous takeaway to the drunken masses.
When I come across a decent fish and chip shop, I feel compelled to write about it to help promote this bastion of British cooking. And I found a really good, homely, fish and chip shop on Upper Street, near Highbury & Islington station. The place is called Sea Fish, and when you step in the restaurant has a very minimalist feel to it, similar to the IKEA-style Nordic Bakery. When we went on a weekday afternoon at 3pm, we were attended to by a very friendly and efficient waitress. After placing our order of the fish of the day and chips (£5 on afternoons), we could see the chef preparing our fish with fresh batter in the open-plan kitchen at the front of the restaurant. Within minutes, our piping hot freshly cooked battered fish and a pile of chips arrived at our table. We also ordered the fish soup, and were told it would take 15 minutes to arrive as it would have to be made freshly from scratch; fine with us!
While waiting for our fish soup (£3.50), we devoured our food; the battered fish was crispy on the outside but not burnt, and the meat inside was tender and fresh.While the £5 afternoon special does not use cod or haddock, the battered white fish was nevertheless very tasty. The chunky chips were somewhat mediocre, but I guess it is better to have good fish and average chips, rather than tasteless fish and good chips.
We wolfed down our fish and chips, and waited expectantly for the fish soup, and was not disappointed at all! The big bowl of soup was hot and steaming, right from the pot, and had fish, mussels, and other seafood in a spicy seafood broth that had a hint of tomato. It was one of the best seafood soups I have ever had, and as a seafood lover I have had many in my life. Perhaps it was because it was freshly made and we were the only ones in the restaurant, but when I go back to Sea Fish I will definitely be ordering their seafood soup again. Just a word of warning though… the seafood broth is quite spicy, and for those that would rather prefer a milder version, they can create a spice-less broth on demand.
Verdict: Overall, the Sea Fish restaurant delivers exactly what it promises to: good fish and chips, and at a very reasonable price too, especially on afternoons (£5). The Cod and Haddock are priced at £7.95, which is reasonable too, and the dining room was clean and bright, which can’t be said for the majority of fish and chip shops in London. Service was prompt, and drinks were reasonably priced too, with a can of coke at £1.75. They don’t do alcohol, unfortunately, and I suspect they do not have a BYO policy either. Sea Fish also do takeaways, for those in a hurry or on their way to a football game at the nearby Arsenal Emirates Stadium.
Rating: 7 out of 10 stars
Cuisine: British fish & chips shop
Price Range: £17 for a two course meal, including soft drinks
Address: 205 Upper Street, Islington,London N1 1RQ
Nearest Tube Station: Highbury & Islington Tube Station (4 minutes walk), Angel Tube Station (15 minutes walk, 5 minutes by bus)
Tel: 020 7354 0276
Website: none. But Urbanspoon have the menu here.