Fishworks, W1U 4QW
- 020 7935 9796
- 89 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4QW
A fish and seafood restaurant on Marylebone High Street, with its own fishmongers attached. There are other branches in Piccadilly Circus and Richmond. The emphasis is on fresh, sustainable fish, brought in daily from Brixham and the south coast. If you wish, you can select your fish from the counter and have it cooked to order.
At the Marylebone branch, the restaurant area is located at the back of the building, past the fish counter. The decor is modern without being too much like an Ikea showroom, and quite a pleasant environment in which to spend a long lunch hour.
Kat and her parents visited on a Thursday lunchtime in April 2013. We'd booked online via the website, probably worth doing as at 1pm it was about two thirds full (on a previous Friday lunchtime visit in 2012 it had been absolutely packed). The specials menu was marked on a blackboard above our heads, but our server was happy to read it out for us so we didn't have to crane our necks. Unsurprisingly there were only two non-fishy options on the menu: a vegetable linguini and a rib-eye steak.
Many items on the menu are priced by weight - a 530g hake steak was £36/kg (£19), and a whole 650g Megrim sole was £35/kg (£23). The hake was served on top of a cucumber and chilli salad, but other sides were extra (a large-ish pot of chips £4, new potatoes £3, sugar snap peas £4). The sole was well cooked, falling apart but not overdone. The hake was a little too dry (and the chilli may as well not have been there), but had a good salty flavour and was definitely fresh.
The puddings were surprisingly good - a treacle sponge (£5.50) was lovely, crammed with ginger and brown sugar. The Eton Mess (£6) was served in a flouncy glass that I think I last saw in a Happy Eater in 1987, but the contents were very good - proper crispy meringue and juicy fruit.
As you might expect for a fish restaurant, the wine list has a larger than usual selection of white wines. A 500ml carafe of Picpoul de Pinet was £16. Tap water was supplied and topped up without being asked.
Kat's verdict: at £37 per head for 2 courses, this is not really a cheap lunch option, but then again quality, sustainable fish and seafood in London are expensive. The relaxed atmosphere is welcoming enough that I would probably come back and try something more adventurous (e.g. a whole crab!) if I was feeling financially flush, or wanted some environmentally-friendly scallops.
Accessibility: a shallow step to get in. Didn't check the toilets. A wheelchair user arrived during our visit, and the staff immediately rearranged the chairs and tables when requested.