Monday, 16 November 2009

Fish & Grill, Croydon

I've been meaning to blog about our fish feast in Fish&Grill for a couple of weeks but events have rather overtaken me and I haven't had a minute to properly sit and write something meaningful, so here goes.

Fish&Grill in South End, Croydon is nearly brilliant. Nearly. Croydon's South End is a curious place, full of rather nicer places to eat than you might think, including Le Cassoulet (I blogged about this earlier), Albert's Table, The Treehouse and others. We made it to Fish&Grill one Thursday lunchtime; it was a bit of a blow-out early Christmas lunch/first day of a few days off celebration so you must forgive the seemingly orgiastic description that follows.

The focus is - duh - fish and seafood, although there is a nod to the die-hard-beef-eaters with burgers, chicken and so on, but you might as well stick to the fishies; they do it so well. I was tempted by everything from fresh oysters to boulliabaisse, MCD by bisques and scallops. We finally agreed on the platter of fruits de mer to start with - a portion for 2, we thought, followed by a light snackerel of lobster and chips for MCD and fish and chips for me. The sweet waitress, however, was quite firm - a portion for one would suffice. When we actually pointed out we were (snigger and a nod to India Knight) Big Pigs and could take anything she cared to bring us, she stood her ground.

Thank Christ. The platter was e-normous. Clams, razor clams, langoustines, half a crab, mussels, oysters, whelks - the only thing missing was winkles, so they threw on some (incredibly scarily over-sized and not altogether attractive) whelks. All daisy-fresh and a perfect portion for 2 for a good-sized lunch. But for us, no, we soldier manfully on....

MCD was introduced to the lobster first; they seemed to get on so Lobster got poached and served with some addictive skinny skin-on chips and plenty of mayonnaise. My fish and chips - halibut in a beer batter - was good, although arguably the oil should have been hotter to fry the fish. As it was the batter was a touch on the soggy side. Not a disaster as I quite like soggy batter with ketchup, but it is a basic request. The accompanying minted pea puree was refreshing and well-judged. A side order of leek gratin was a molten pot of bubbling cheese and leeks, mopped up with the chips. But why wasn't there Sarson's available - and, no, white wine vinegar is not the same thing at all.

We aren't done yet. MCD found a little corner for a monster portion of sticky toffee pudding; I found I could muster enthusiasm for a wedge of lemon meringue pie. Unfortunately it was a whole pie, nicely contrasting lemon and sweet meringue, although I think the lemon filling could have been more set. And I have to admit it beat me.

The whole, with Kir Royales, a bottle of Gavi, 2 dessert wines and an espresso (in an attempt to make it look less like a debauched drunken lunch and more like we quite seriously intended to do something afterwards than just roll on the carpet clutching our stomachs) came to around £150 - not bad for a real lunchtime blow out, but try the set lunches at £12 for 2 courses.


Lizzie said...

I went to Fish & Grill for a Sunday lunch and found it pretty poor. Our waitress neglected us so we were there for more than 3 hours and were left thirsty. the food was weird too - sliced brown sandwich bread. I much preffered Le cassoulet.

Jo said...

Lizzie: I'm amazed. And sliced brown sandwich bread is outrageous. I wonder what went wrong? I have to admit, from a personal food preference, Le Cassoulet is much more up my street too and I liked the atmosphere more.