Set amid chichi clothing boutiques and expensively curated concept stores, Fish's mosaic frontage and well-worn wooden fittings match the area's expensively understated charm – but without the price tag. The tiny venue is run by expatriate New Zealander Drew Harré and his Cuban business partner Juan Sanchez (they also have Semilla across the road), with Englishman Ollie Clarke in the kitchen. The cosmopolitan set-up makes the restaurant particularly popular with English speakers (front of house tend to be ex-pats, too) – but plenty of locals also come for the menu of fresh ingredients and confident flavours. And all visitors must be charmed by the attention to detail, from thoughtful presentation on the plate to the tiny silver sea urchins that stud the narrow wooden stairs to the bathrooms. The vibe is relaxed and friendly, especially at the bar – a perfect place for solo diners.
The three-course set lunch menu is an absolute steal at €28.50 per person (with a €4 supplement for some dishes), and is perfectly pitched for each season. We visited on a spring afternoon with rain drizzling down the windows, the ideal setting for dishes laced with roasted onions, wild garlic, white asparagus and fat fresh peas. A warming bowl of brilliant orange fish soup with crunchy, oily croutons was a warming treat, all rich, complex fishy flavours and a welcome sprig of dill. Our other starter of barbecued mackerel with capers, grapes, quenelles of tomato confit and white asparagus was a spritely spring salad with a difference, challenging you to layer the flavours together in different combinations.
Our mains came in their own time – don't expect to pop in for a speedy lunch here – but were both hearty and interesting. Sea bream on a bed of barley and scattered with more spring peas and coriander was strongly flavoured with preserved lemon – fresh, simple and bright. A heftier, more sensual take on Easter produce was a long-cooked piece of lamb, the meat easily pulled apart into tender fibres, sitting on a mound of rich, inky black rice surrounded by avocado puree, tangled about with spinach, wild garlic, rich jus, crispy onions and a topping of chives.
In the end we couldn't manage two desserts, but shared a cinnamony panna cotta with a slice of pear and a slick of honey, topped with a lemon sorbet. All together, a seriously satisfying lunch, at half the price you might expect to pay for the neighbourhood. We'll stop in again.
|Venue name:||Fish la Boissonnerie|
Rue de Seine, 6e
|Opening hours:||Daily 12.30-2.30pm, 7pm-10.45pm|