Tom travels west to visit a waterside eaterie serving the freshest local catch
It feels apt, surrounded by water and sitting in a restaurant called Fish. Beneath our feet, the Avon flows, all quiet, muddy magnificence, while above, the British summer hammers down, not so much damp as downright sodden. Yet inside this converted barge, on the edge of Bristol docks, all is cool, calm and dry.
‘This was once called The Glassboat, and very smart,’ says my old friend and food writer Mark Taylor as we sit down at our blonde wood table, in the shade of a hanging plant. ‘Hugely respected, too.’ The owner remains the same, although things seem a little more laid back. Takeaway fish and chips at one end, and a longer menu, featuring lots of sustainably caught West Country fish, in the main cabin. Mark reckons it will be OK. Mark is invariably right.
Devilled whitebait have a crisp, paprika-heavy crunch. Boiled white prawns are so fresh they still wear the scent of the sea. Scallops, big bruisers cooked to a tender translucence, arrive in the shell, drenched in a buttery, tarragon-scented chlorophyll green sauce. So far, so simple. And gloriously so.
Then a fish soup of startling beauty, featuring dill, curry powder and cumin. Three swaggering flavours that can easily overwhelm, but here tamed into rapt submission. There’s a gentle but bracing depth, with subtle Pernod sweetness, that is at once Provençal and deeply Bristolian, too. ‘Stephen Markwick,’ says Mark after one spoonful. ‘It’s his recipe, no doubt about that. Jake Platt, head chef here, trained under him.’ Markwick was chef proprietor of the eponymous Markwicks for 35 years, and trained under George Perry-Smith and Joyce Molyneux – two food heroes of not just the Southwest, but the whole country too. This soup makes a fine legacy, and Platt does them all proud.
Lemon sole is every bit as fresh as you’d hope, and cooked just right, while salmon fishcakes are gloriously old school, with great chunks of pink nestled in among the mashed potato. A sharp, lemony sorrel sauce makes sure things don’t get over heavy. For pudding, an immaculate crème brûlée, and poached pears in bracing raspberry sauce. Service is lovely, prices sensible and Bristol, once again, finds itself with another cracking place to eat.
Full Review Source: Mail Online
FiSH review: A near-faultless experience at Bristol’s new seafood restaurant
It has been a turbulent year for Bristol’s hospitality sector and the struggles are likely to continue as the impact of the Covid-19 crisis is laid bare, but we’ve still had some decent new openings to get excited about.
This week saw the launch of one of the most anticipated new arrivals in Bristol’s food scene of 2020, in a restaurant many will already be familiar with.
Glassboat – the barge converted into a fine dining establishment by Arne Ringner in 1986 – has reopened as FiSH, a seafood restaurant serving fresh fish delivered daily.
With a takeaway adjoining the new-look Welsh Back restaurant for those who want to enjoy their fish and chips at home, the boat now has a far more informal feel, from the decor to the demeanour of the waiting staff.
Dining chairs have been replaced with backless benches, the majority of tables are now lengthy dining tables perfect for groups of friends to share a meal together and a new colour scheme has left the place feeling far fresher and brighter.
Waiting staff are no longer sharply dressed head to toe in black, but instead wear trainers and t-shirts with the restaurant’s name and logo on.
But while the name, style and culinary focus of the moored restaurant may have shifted, the people at its helm have remained. Arne is still the owner and the kitchen is still headed up by Jake Platt, who has been cooking in Bristol since the 1990s.
This means the quality of food is still extremely high, as I gladly discovered when I visited on Thursday evening (August 27), two days after the relaunch.
With countless people across Bristol taking advantage of the Eat Out To Help Out offer this month, which runs between Monday and Wednesday, it wasn’t a huge surprise to find only a smattering of fellow diners when we arrived.
Full Review Source: Bristol Live
WOW FACTOR’ – RESTAURANT REVIEW
The very beginnings of our city can be imagined from out of the windows at Fish, with its unrivalled vantage point towards Bristol Bridge.
On a recent Friday lunchtime, the sun reflected off the water to create a unique light show on the underside of the bridge and also on the ceilings of Fish, a restaurant and takeaway that is marking its own beginnings.
This new restaurant on Welsh Back occupies the barge that for many years had been Glassboat, with its time brought to an end during lockdown as its owners took the opportunity to completely reinvent the historic space.
Gone are the white tablecloths and in their place comes picnic tables, with plants and Fish t-shirts for sale hanging from the ceilings, and framed French prints remaining from the Glassboat days.
The fish, seafood and shellfish served here is mostly caught off the coast of the South West, featuring the likes of Devon ray roasted on the bone (£16.50), a cracked Dorset crab (£18.50) and half a Cornish lobster (£24).
My nine-year-old daughter enjoyed her kids portion of fish and chips for a fiver, and enjoyed her three scoops of ice cream even more.
A hake fillet with olive oil, parsley and garlic (£10.50) was cooked to perfection by head chef Jake Platt, with a golden skin and flaky white flesh.
Veteran chef Platt was previously head chef at the Glassboat, and trained under legendary Bristol chef and restaurateur Stephen Markwick.
Golf ball-sized scallops grilled in garlic butter (£12.50) were fresh and succulent but the best was yet to come.
“Would you like some bread to mop up the scallop juices?” asked our waitress Lucy, presumably with a smile under her face mask. Yes god damn please. If I went to the gallows, I might choose this as my last meal and make the most of every last drop of the delicious juices.
A pudding of bitter chocolate mousse with honeycomb and cultured cream (£5.50) was a decadent end to the meal, accompanied by a malfunctioning French press which was swiftly swapped by Lucy for one that worked, so I could enjoy a coffee with beans roasted by Blind Owl in St Philip’s.
The dessert was reminiscent of that served by Freddy Bird (formerly executive head chef at the Lido group who own Glassboat and now Fish) at his new restaurant Little French in Westbury Park, but tasted even better with the addition of the small honeycomb pieces.
Drinks options here range from draught Magic Rock beer and Iford cider, to Ting grapefruit juice from Jamaica, and wine from £18 to £68 a bottle if you want to turn back time to the glory days of the Glassboat and push the boat out.
Full Review Source: Bristol247