Berkeley Square House
Sexy Fish. You’ve heard of it, right? Of course you have… It’s that Asian seafood restaurant on Berkeley Square which was THE place to be seen at when it opened in 2015 (think the new Chiltern Firehouse), and where the likes of Cheryl Cole, the Beckhams and Kendall Jenner have wined and dined. Unsurprisingly, I had high expectations for Sexy Fish… With everyone who’s anyone seeming to be chomping at the bit to get in there when it opened, I figured that the still-hard-to-get-into brainchild of the Caprice Holdings group was worth a visit so that I could conjure up my own verdict.
Firstly, the table wasn’t ready when we arrived. I HATE when this happens and think that any good restaurant should always offer you a drink on the house at the bar that they shove you towards while you wait for your table that they were fully aware should have been ready for whatever time slot you booked in for. Needless to say, this did not happen (as in most places these days) and my guest and I ended up paying £30 for a cocktail and a glass of champagne that we probably otherwise wouldn’t have had. As I mentioned, this really irritates me when restaurants are late for your booking and don’t even offer you a drink on the house as compensation and so perhaps the review that follows is a reflection of the wound-up, irritable state I started off my experience with. Haha, good luck.
The menu at Sexy Fish is varied, I’ll give them that. There are a bunch of dishes to choose from including sushi, sashimi, steak, salads, and of course fish. They operate on a sharing concept and as most sharing concept restaurants, dishes are brought to the table as and when they are ready. My guest and I opted for the tartare of yellowfin tuna and the salmon carpaccio to start: both were very enjoyable. The tartare arrived with the glorious surprise of black truffle shavings (you’ve perked me up here after that reservation and drinks fiasco), and some wonderful spicy lotus chips…Nothing bad to say about that. The salmon carpaccio, whilst very tasty, wasn’t actually carpaccio. Upon a second look at the menu, the description says ‘Seared Salmon Sashimi, Yuzu Soy, Olive & Sesame Oil’. Okay cool, but are you a carpaccio or a seared salmon sashimi? Bit weird that the dish was called a carpaccio (thin slices of raw beef or fish by definition), when it was actually seared sashimi? Anyway, my identity-crisis salmon was very pleasant nonetheless.
Here is where I’ll introduce my first point of irritation. My guest and I decided to opt for a £110 bottle of Mersault (hey, it’s Christmas… Treat yaself!), but alas, said bottle of wine didn’t even make an appearance until our main dishes arrived. What the hell is that about? Firstly, surely you’d want to be getting that vino down my neck ASAP Rocky in the hopes that I’ll splurge on another one, and secondly, I’ve just bought a freakin’ £110 bottle of wine… Can I at least be allowed to enjoy it with my starter as well as my main?! Add to this the fact that I had to ask for our glasses to be topped up TWICE before I finally called over the manager (more on that later), and my prior truffle-induced spike in happiness has now come hurtling down back to the reality that is the hyped up, resting on its laurels, cash laden stomping ground that is Sexy Fish.
Main courses. We went for the miso glazed Chilean sea bass, which was basically a typical black cod dish, despite the fact we were playing with sea bass here (fun fact of the day: Chilean Seabass is just some fancy pants name that a fish wholesaler came up with in 1977 to market what is actually named the Patagonian Toothfish which is actually a type of cod) (fun fact of the day 2: Black Cod is also just an up your arse name for a variety of different white fish so that Nobu and Zuma can commit daylight robbery on a piece of fish that cost them diddly squat when they bought it at market price… Yeah, it’s not going to stop me buying it either haha). The flavours were just as I had anticipated, and thus very enjoyable. Do you know what was not so enjoyable? The fact that said Chilean sea bass tasted like it came straight out of the 1-4° waters it grew up in. It’s a shame that the temperature of the dish overrode what were otherwise very nice flavours. Our other main dish was the USDA fillet steak cooked rare. Very nice, nothing to open my moany mouth about.
At this point I asked to speak to the manager. I don’t think my guest was too excited about this but I do think it’s important to give feedback, and the numerous people I know who work in the restaurant industry really value when customers give feedback because otherwise they don’t know how to improve. So, I had a good old moan about how the wine showed up so late, how no one was topping us up, and how the fish was actually not as sexy as I had anticipated. He thanked me for my feedback, apologised profusely, took the sea bass off our bill and sent over a dessert on the house, which by the way was actually very nice (smoked passion fruit mousse in a chocolate dome with green tea ice cream for those of you who are still going to dare to pay a visit after this review haha).
All in all, I feel like Sexy Fish was a bit of a one night stand. I was all excited to get in there, it looked so appealing… But in the end I left feeling underwhelmed after an anticlimactic experience and I probably won’t want a re-run after coming to learn that the performance was below par. A name might be desirable guys, but if they don’t deliver the goods then it’s just not worth my credit card’s walk of shame in the morning.