With its sleek aluminium finish and contemporary interior Cafe Fish could not be more different from the traditional Leith pub which used to occupy its premises. Infact as you walk through the revolving doors you are transported to a restaurant which wouldn’t look out of place in a Sex and the City episode. Despite the smooth interior, The Edinburgh Blog has previously been reluctant to try Cafe Fish, as despite a fixed priced evening menu the supplements seemed to litter every dish which caught our eye. However, with an attractive a la carte menu on display for lunch on Saturday we decided to pay Cafe Fish a long overdue visit.
Cafe Fish certainly isn’t cheap, with lunch starters costing up to ¬£10 and mains up to ¬£19. The menu changes daily, so Cafe Fish is a great place to walk by and see if something takes your fancy. Sitting at the bar - glass of champagne and oysters in hand is advocated. Yet there is something about the ambience of Cafe Fish which makes formal table dining the preferred option. It certainly does not have the informal nature a bar like Cafe Royal finds effortlessly. That said Cafe Fish is an enormously attractive restaurant whose interior layout, especially the open plan kitchen, works very well.
The sourcing of quality fresh fish was in evidence through all of our dishes. Fishcakes for starter were served as three lightly battered balls - crisp on the outside and delightfully packed with fluffy fish centres (¬£5). My bowl of Shetland mussels was served with tomato and coriander (¬£5). They were messy to eat, but the quality of the produce shone through.
Hake is battered and served on a bed of chips in the Cafe Fish version of the British classic (¬£11). It works really well and the hake was absolutely white and perfectly tender. Delicious. The homemade tartare sauce is worth a mention - chopped gherkin, capers, dill, etc. all beautifully combined. Crushed peas were the icing on the cake of a fantastically enjoyable dish. A great piece of cod on a bed of lentils (¬£13) proved the most pleasant of courses. All of this was washed down with a few glasses from our 1/2 bottle of pleasant Sancerre (¬£13). The service was knowledgeable and, somewhat of a rarity for Edinburgh, very conversational.
When you’re having such an enjoyable time it’s hard to walk away without dessert. The cheese board at ¬£9 was a high quality affair of aged goats’ cheese, tallegio and valdeon; served with a particularly fine chutney. The apple and rhubarb crumble ensured our three course lunch finished without fault.
I think Cafe Fish could do more to offer a wider range of affordable and informal dining options, which would encourage greater casual and repeat trade. But as a destination for a high quality fish lunch or dinner, Cafe Fish is a winner. The setting is great, the quality of the fish is high, the cooking accomplished and the service slick.
Cafe Fish is located at 60 Henderson Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6DE
Telephone: 0131 538 613