MONKFISH will never work in scampi. I pointed out this fatty food critic fact to Joe as he shook his head and threw the rejected food back on his plate. My statement would be very insightful if it weren’t for the fact that 1) I was the one who ordered the bloody monkfish in the first place and 2) I would be the only one who would go on to eat it.
Though tough and almost rubbery, the baby monkfish bullet wriggles out of every batter ball in a blast of superheated, searing, slippery steam. Well, did they accidentally leave that dangerously strong monkfish tail sheath on it, I’ll say it out loud – just when the waiter loomed in rather awkwardly to check that everything was ok.
Yes, I’m going to lie about this food now. It would be rude not to.
Meanwhile, Joe is eating tacos again – they’re much better now that you asked. “Maybe the monkfish has become too chewy for the batter to hold?” I continued to ask myself.
Find out on postcards from Cafe Fish, as you might have guessed, dinner on a Wednesday night at lazy and upmarket Pollokshields in Glasgow didn’t get off to a happy start.
read more: A Michelin star has landed and here I am. Where are the others?
Moi had a bit of yuk-yuk-yuk sneer when he saw langoustine on the specials menu tonight: £25, ahem, for three. The slender, Toy Story-esque claws are undoubtedly included, as is the staring head, both of which certainly add to the spectacle – though rarely fed in any way.
Prices are likely to be high, and it looks like a solid mid-market joint. The cost of seafood is not Cafe Fish’s fault though, their tacos contain fish (haddock) which would be better in a scampi, £10.50, well seasoned, juicy and perfectly edible.
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These are crispy batter bombs: light white meat balancing the flavors of juicy and marinated tomatoes on one side, zigzag trails of cilantro and squirting mayonnaise on another. I could actually have another serving, I said to Joe.
They also make a nice crab cake. The crunchy panko shell, which cracks under a fork to reveal a smooth soft filling, tastes suddenly caramelized, like pudding, then spiced, peppery, salty. We both decided we really liked them – even at £11.50 – although oddly they didn’t taste like crab at all. I mean: no. exist. any. Way. taste. of. Crab.
Given the high impact value of the other ingredients, this might not be surprising – is it actually sweet potatoes? uh ok. Let’s look at the bright side. Another fish place wouldn’t be a bad thing. in Scotland. on an island. Surrounded by sea.
They should absolutely be everywhere. perhaps. I suspect there’s a reason they’re outnumbered 10 to 1 by burger joints. Fish is hard to do well. And it does have a very annoying tendency to disappear entirely unless given full spotlight center stage.
Tonight, for example. We also have another item from our specials menu: Curry. Haddock, collet and salmon curry (species unknown) served with sticky rice. Reasonably priced at £14. It is very comfortable to eat. Not very pretty.
Is there a student style? You know – it’s all stewed into a soup, see? I have no doubt it contains all the fish on the menu. We just couldn’t taste any of them properly. In fact, I got paprika, maybe, anyway, some hot spice, and nothing else. If a large school of fish is put in it, as it should be, then it has somehow failed to make itself known. Is the curry also spiced? Like the kamaboko back then; pleasant enough, but with the added zilcho of the seafood – if you ignore the price.
I’m not saying, though, that Cafe Fish isn’t a great place to spend the evening: the service is brisk, attentive, alert, and the guys are very pleasant.
dessert? Interestingly, it was only ordered because we still had room. However, it was a surprise. Sticky date pudding, salty, fluffy, almost candied, perfectly chilled with ice cream. Also £6.50. Definitely a last minute save.
122-124 Nicedale Road
Open; closed Mondays
On the menu: crab cakes, tacos, fish pies, mackerel salad, cod fillets—pretty much what you’d expect from a mid-range fish shop these days. 3/5
Service: Pleasant, friendly, and the food came on time. Nothing to complain about. 4/5
Ambiance: Casual, casual, café vibe in a suburb of Glasgow’s South End. It wasn’t very busy when we were there. 3/5
Prices: Yes Seafood: Yes Scotland. Almost anywhere actually – it’s never cheap, is it? They try to lower the exclusivity of the price, but at what cost? 3/5
Food: Full marks, offering a full menu, including very mainstream seafood. Seafood is not handled particularly well. The tacos were very good. Dates will work too. 6/10