Tel: +44 (0)20 8994 0086
Address: 6 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, W4 1QP
Cuisine Type: Fish
As a Londoner, FishWorks is the type of restaurant you start to fantasise about. With not a seagull or so much as a winkle within miles, a place serving up catch of the day, still with a gleam in its eye, shiny skin quivering temptingly and whispering “cook me, cook me”, is the stuff of a fevered imagination for someone pining for piscine.
So, walking down Turnham Green Terrace and spying a bounty of ocean treasures all laid out on a mammoth fishmonger’s slab, I thought I’d encountered a strange mirage. Fortunately, it’s all real and the fishmonger’s frontage forms the entrance to a small restaurant run by Mitchell Tonks, a former accountant who turned his passion for the sea into five fish restaurants dotted about the UK.
Arriving five minutes early for our booking on a Saturday night (I was that keen), we were told our table wasn’t quite ready and would we mind waiting out front. No problem – just more opportunity to eye up the day’s catch.
Maybe my drooling worried the waiter as he quickly dispatched two complimentary glasses of prosecco and asked the fishmonger (apparently the chefs take it in turns to man the counter) to serve us up some oysters to try. Rock, Fine De Claire, and others depending on season, are all on offer. We also got a taster of the lovely smoked salmon and plump anchovies.
I could have stayed there all night quite happily but we were soon asked to our table. The restaurant is a difficult narrow space, but they’ve made the most of it by having two tiers. It’s modern, with blond wood, sleek white chairs and specials chalked up on a blackboard.
We tried spaghetti with clams (£8.50) – a divine concoction of fresh tomato, juicy clams and perfectly cooked pasta: it’s a simple dish but has to be spot-on to be good. There’s an array of shellfish from which we chose the cock crab (£8.50) – wonderfully fresh.
One thing to bear in mind: because they only have the best of the day’s catch, they can run out of things, so don’t set your heart on a particular dish.
We ordered the bream (£14.90), baked in salt to keep in the moisture and flavour – again superb – and the sea bass: also a prime specimen but one slight gripe was that it didn’t need the accompanying rosemary, as it imparted too much flavour to something so delicate.
With a clear conscience (after all, we’d only had fish) we also tucked into their sublimely sticky toffee sponge.
Service is friendly and the staff properly briefed as to what’s what in the kitchen. All in all, a very convivial place – and if you’re bringing a veggie friend along, mention it when you book and they’ll be well-catered for.
It’s all reassuringly non-snooty and, in a city chock-full of restaurants plying their OTT garnis, jus, towers and other pretensions, it comes as a breath of fresh (sea) air.