57 Charlotte Street
Tel: 020 7850 0539
You soon discover the sea really is your oyster when browsing over the menu at Pescatori. This established fish restaurant of Fitzrovia is still going strong after many years so I felt it was time to have look professionally speaking. Sitting away from most of the media brouhaha of the southern end of Charlotte Street it is quite comforting to step into Pescatori knowing that, it will probably not be invaded by young media professionals with their trousers hanging down at their knees and sporting incongruously bushy beards (as is all the rage at the moment I believe)
The clientele I am pleased to report were relaxed, chatty and wearing their clothes properly. They have a few booths here, which are the height of ‘space’ luxury in this part of town but we had a standard table that served us splendidly. If it were a special occasion I would book well ahead and nab a booth.
The olives, which came on ice, a newish trend I’ve noticed were excellent and home made bread with tomatoes that were on the table when we arrived all made for a good pre starter. A glass of well-chilled Pinot Grigio seemed the right way forward for the few plates of seafood to follow.
The choices here I feel have developed over time. There are classics of course; Oysters of various provenance scampi, shellfish platter served on ice and a number of pasta dishes with a piscatorial bent. But I was looking at stepping out of the traditional comfort zone of familiarity.
M spotted salmone affumicato, hot smoked salmon with celeriac and fennel coleslaw. The smoking process is achieved in a hot smoker not cool so the salmon is cooked at the same time. The effect is a little like it has been on a BBQ. The smoke is just a touch more prevalent and it worked very well with the salad. A hit no doubt. I chose an insalata granchio, a fresh crab salad of fennel chilli and tomato. The chilli was very mild and the fennel strong. There was a drizzle of beautiful basil oil around the edge that gave it a different dimension.
The staff are charming here, very happy to help explain the menu and guide when indecision strikes as it did for me at dessert time. My main was nasello a poached south coast hake fillet stuffed with Stornoway black pudding and cream and white wine sauce. It was good, creamy but the texture of the fish still flakey and all sitting on some new potatoes. This was a substantial plate food that could only have been improved with a more of that lovely black pudding stuffing. M went for a special a swordfish steak with an orange butter. A good-sized piece of fish that could have done with a dash more orange butter to swim, in did taste great but a drop more sauce would have been welcome. This is a minor niggle though as over all along with a few sides these plates were satisfying. The best of the sides was the zucchini fritti crispy fried zucchini, these were wonderful with only a touch of batter they positively commanded you eat more and more, a good accompaniment with any dish (or even as a starter)?
Now, on to the expertise of the waiters. We were wondering what to have for dessert and quick as a flash our waiter told us about gnocchi di latte, a personal creation of the chef. Baked sweet dumplings (new to me) and glazed in dark rum. They also had sliced pear as well. This is a fabulous dessert in the spirit of a rum baba. I loved it especially the rum sauce, I could have drank a whole mug of it. We also had (as M and I were sharing) zuppa inglese their take on an English triffle with Masala wine, which was a giant portion in its own glass and a sorbet or two. This polished off the meal for us.
We left our table and went to collect our coats (why don’t all restaurants have cloakrooms? It makes for a relaxed meal if you don’t have to worry about your coat trailing on the floor off the back of your chair). We passed many a table with happy occupants. Walking back to the car we headed south down along Charlotte Street and sure enough by the time we had reached the end there were many Hoxton hipsters hanging around (and almost falling over themselves due to their trouser issues) with their beards defining them like lighthouse keepers on shore leave. I was happy to have spent an hour on the north ‘shore’ of Charlotte Street.