After a heady few years of over-expansion and financial turmoil, FishWorks seems to have found its niche, with three branches in smarter parts of town. Each has a wet fish counter at the front, restaurant behind, with the airy Richmond outpost also offering a cookery school.
The Mayfair branch is handsome and cleverly designed, thanks to dark wooden furniture, greeny-grey colours, and the nifty use of wine racks to divide up the space. Expect fellow diners to be business folk and a smattering of tourists.
Fish (much of it from Devon and the south coast) is undeniably fresh and good quality – the seafood platters come piled high – but cooking can be mediocre. Spaghetti with palourde clams looked the part, though the essential brininess of the shellfish was missing – as were the promised flavours of chilli, garlic and parsley. And it featured unnecessary onions. A starter of crisp-fried baby squid with chilli was similarly muted, but whole sea bream stuffed with garlic and fennel was cooked just-so.
Accompaniments cost extra, so with most main courses topping £15, the bill can escalate alarmingly. The drinks list specialises in white wine and fizz, although there are a few reds and beers too.