Like the late, lamented Eddie Gilbert’s in Ramsgate, Easy Fish is a restaurant attached to a fishmongers. Unlike Gilbert’s there’s a short menu. I’m usually in favour of short menus but, frankly, this is too short. Or, at least, it means they play safe with their choices. There’s the likes of cod, sea bass and tuna – stuff you’ll see on any bistro menu. But where’s the mackerel, pollock and bream that they are surely selling at the front for folk to cook at home? Yes, I know it’s something of a quibble but how often does a chef get to draw on that sort of easy supply? It really could be so much better. That’s not to suggest that the kitchen can’t cook. In fact, I reckon the kitchen can cook what they cook pretty well.
There was a smoked fish pate to start. And, yes, I know that’s something anyone can knock up at home in the food processor. I knock it up at home in the processor. But, I happily confess, the Easy Fish version is better. There’s a real smokiness and the seasoning is bang-on. OK, the accompanying raisin and red onion chutney was too sweet for this – but it would be a belter with a nice fatty porky terrine. Potted shrimps were the “special” of the night and were made in the kitchen. Pretty good, although a bigger hit from mace would have worked better.
I ordered fish pie as my main. It was, as you might expect, a bland comforting dish which suited my mood. Bits and bobs of white fish, a couple of prawns, good potato topping which had crisped a bit under the grill. A few peas, couple of chantenay carrots, a couple of broccoli florets accompanied. I liked it and, as I say, it suited my mood. On another night, I might well have said my partner got the better of the ordering. She went with cod. It was roasted and had real depth of flavour, although it still managed to have flabby skin. There were crushed new potatoes mixed with smoked Applewood and bacon. This was also pretty good – although there should be a law against calling it smoked – Google tells me it isn’t actually smoked but treated with artificial flavouring. A few peas counted towards the five-a-day. A rather good red wine sauce set it all off.
There was a good view of the kitchen and all three chefs were clearly working their socks off – so it was odd that things seemed to take longer than you might expect, even though the restaurant was busy. Front of house were good – a young, smiley crew who knew what’s what.