The Fishmonger Ltd
So. Here it is at last, and very pleased many of us are to see actual quality fooderies finally coming to East Greenwich – aw- c’mon – it’s hardly far for you Westerners to trudge across the park in your green wellies and barbours… ;0)
It’s all clean and bright, and though some of the shop has a distinctly “unfinished” feel to it – there’s a tantalising Global knife cupboard and price list but no knives and several empty shelves in the display cabinet, I guess the main priority is to get the place open – niceties come later.
The one area which WAS absolutely stuffed to the gills (oops – sorry…) was the main event – the fish counter. Julian, one half of the young couple who are bravely setting out in the pescatorial world, is just getting himself acclimatised to the daily 4.00am visit to Billingsgate – there are no dark circles under the eyes yet, but with opening hours that currently go to 7.00pm, that will only be a matter of time. He confessed that he had been nervous that Billingsgate would be having an “off day” on Fishmonger’s debut, but from what I could see, his worries had been for naught. There was a fine display – from eye-bright bream to shiny monkfish, giant king scallops to scarlet sashimi tuna, all beautifully arranged on the classic bed of ice.
Elsewhere in the shop are lemons, limes and fresh herbs in wooden crates and racks with spices and dressings. There are various cookbooks – some of which are clearly for sale, others – vintage, by the look of it, are more for getting ideas from. I am sure that as the shop matures, it will fill out with other accoutrements.
As you go in, there’s a gorgeous old vintage dining table stacked with crusty bread, which has been locally sourced (not, I am glad to say, from Greggs…) fish kettles and other paraphernalia. It also has a collection of “Fishmonger Ltd” bits and bobs – good to get in there quick with the merchandise, I always say. You can get reclaimed hardwood chopping boards with the Fishmonger Ltd logo stamped discreetly in the corner (make sure you scrub that bit well, eh?) and some snazzy Fishmonger aprons so you don’t get guts down your gut.
Of course you don’t need to get anywhere near guts if you don’t want to. Julian gutted and scaled my bream for me while I (and, ahem, a bit of a queue behind me) waited. I am sure it will speed up with time – and it was beautifully done. Presumably his partner will come in for busy times – once they know when those will be – at the moment the opening hours are long, but they intend to revise them once they’ve been open for a while.
They plan to have tasting sessions and fishy-type classes – I hope they do this soon. My bream was a total disaster – and I pride myself on my culinary skills. The fish itself was fabulous – only I could have made the pig’s ear of it that I did. I’ve suggested they get together with Theatre of Wine for occasional evening sessions – champagne and oysters, anyone? They should also put suggested wine at the bottom of their recipe cards, IMHO. Incidentally, don’t miss the lovely marine-inspired display in Theatre of Wine just now, created, presumably, to welcome the new kids on the block…
I’ve just realised that this reads a bit like one of the advertorial articles in local rags that I’m always going on about how much I hate. This is pretty much unavoidable just now – the place is so new I can’t really say much other than the fish is good and the rest looks as though it will come given a few weeks. I’ll revisit in those few weeks to give a more detailed critique…