Restaurateur Roberto Costa, head of Italian restaurant group Macellaio RC, has opened his latest restaurant in London’s Canary Wharf. This one, though, has been inspired by Roberto's time in the UK, where he has fallen in love with traditional British produce. Fish Game puts ultra-seasonal, sustainable British ingredients centre stage with a concise seasonal menu of the UK’s best game and fish, cooked simply over ash and charcoal.
The interior is beautiful; all vintage furniture and natural wood, it feels like you have stepped out of the impersonal steel and glass world of Canary Wharf and into a modern hunting lodge.
The menu is really interesting; divided, as you might expect, between fish and game it offers dishes that intrigue and challenge. We started with Rabbit Croquette, Black Olives, Potato & Thyme with Marjoram Mayonnaise & Lime Zest. I have never met a croquette I didn't like and this was no exception; expert cooking on the rabbit meant it stayed moist and its delicate flavours were respected and enhanced.
There are some welcome tableside theatrics with the langoustine which elevate the experience; raw Isle of Skye Dublin Bay langustines are wafted with smoked fresh rosemary, drizzled with olive oil and anointed with a funky chilli sauce.
The raw langoustines are served on a pile of wilted samphire with a pomegranate citronette (i.e. a vinaigrette made with lemon juice instead of vinegar). This turned out to be one of those addictive plates on the table; one that you keep returning to and idly picking at as you chat.
There is a venison tartare on the menu, with a bone marrow and parsley salad, black olives and chilli; tempting, but we didn't order it. There's also a gorgeous-sounding smoked Windsor Great Park duck dish, a duck breast and a crispy duck leg with a sweet & sour salad - again, we didn't order it - because what we actually went for was Ox Heart marinated in Taggiasca EVOO, Fresh Chilli, Garlic and Citronette Salad. How often do you get the chance to eat that?
It was a good call, too. Meaty, intense, deeply-flavoured and surprisingly tender, scored with deliciously caramelised grill marks, it was a very modern treatment of a old-school ingredient.
From the fish side of the menu we went for line-caught Monkfish from the SouthWest Approaches with Rosemary, Lime & Smoked Maldon Salt. I love their confidence in the fact that this is served as plainly as plain gets. There is nowhere to hide and, as it turns out, no hiding is necessary. It is beautifully cooked, and a luminous example of great produce left to shine.
For dessert we went for a lovely fruit-topped lemon tart and a rich ice cream, topped with olive oil and Maldon salt. I have a burgeoning interest in desserts that border on being savoury, and was a fan of the ice-cream; I think I am going to try this at home, perhaps with a rosemary and lemon cake.
I think this restaurant will be very successful, as it deserves to be. The menu is interesting enough to tempt first-timers in with the promise of something new, and changes frequently enough that regular customers can eat their way through the seasons, as their ancestors did. Coupled with a cosy interior and genuinely friendly and attentive front of house staff, and I think Roberto Costa is on to another winner.
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Deputy Editor, Chatting Food London: Amanda David
Amanda David is a freelance food writer specialising in London’s restaurants, bars, exhibitions and events. She is the Events Editor and a contributing writer
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