It’s a warm and sunny Wednesday evening, and my first experience of Sexy Fish restaurant in Mayfair, one of Richard Caring’s newest business ventures. I had heard a great deal about it from various friends and colleagues, and my intrigue began to pique as I approached Berkeley Square and saw the now-infamous red-roofed terrace in Mayfair.
I arrive 10 minutes early and decide to wait for my friend and fellow diner inside. When you first walk into Sexy Fish, it’s hard not to notice the decadence in the decor. There’s a school of crystal-looking fish sculptures hanging above the bar, what I assume was coral reefs and seaweed painted on the ceilings, and the blue Damien Hirst mermaid figures that I had heard about. The lighting is quite dark and moody but simultaneously warm and welcoming. Some may not get it, but for me it works.
I’m introduced to Emre, the restaurant manager, who seats me and lets me know that he’ll be helping to curate my menu for the evening. As my friend arrives for dinner, Emre introduces himself then whisks away to begin the meal plan: a variety of individual plates to be shared.
Our meal consisted of a carefully-selected number of dishes that were to show off the skill of the chefs. Warm edamame starts us off with a steady pace, and a strong showing of yellow fin tuna to follow. The prawn tempura was battered with an experienced and gentle hand. The tuna tartare with truffle toppings was sweet and perhaps the best take on this (very) popular dish I’ve ever had. The surprise of the night came in the form of the beetroot salad with creme frishe, which Emre declared was his favourite. The texture of the beetroot and apple, combined with the taste of the creme was executed perfectly.
The following plate of two beautifully-cooked scallops, presented in sea shells, with a dressing that added just enough heat and flavour, helped to solidify the end to a well thought out selection of savoury dishes.
My friend Dan and I take a break from eating and sip on the two cocktails that have been resting in the background of the dinner table. Mine, the Curry Me Home, listed on the cocktail menu underneath The Silk Route, was a good blend of a 12-year-old Chivas Regal, kumquat shrub, curry and egg white.
As the clock turns to 8pm, a live DJ comes in to make what was a chilled, relaxed setting into one that was a bit more upbeat and lively, but without ruining the conversation. On one occasion, I stopped mid-sentenced to listen more closely to the Bacao Rhythym and Steel Band’s rendition of 50 Cent’s P.I.M.P. At the same time, I glanced over and saw a non-waiting member of staff do a quick two-step in time with the tune and then casually walk off.
This is the type of place you want to be, where the food is good, you’re in the midst of luxury, and people aren’t too stuffy to have a good time.
The cheesecake Emre gives us, as our last plate of the night, is not only a fully round six-inch serving to share, but topped with generously-soaked cherries that are as sweet as they are tart.
The night begins to end. and as we say goodbye to Paul Murache, the restaurant director who graciously came by to greet us and Emre, I know that I’ll definitely come back to Sexy Fish.