It’s always good to welcome visitors to Edinburgh, but when it’s folks fresh from Rome, dreaming of meting out a good wooden-spooning to our rugby team, it’s another matter. Fortunately, these particular invading Romans were old friends. Agnes, with whom I attended university, and her husband Massimo, were joined by Lorenzo, Chiara and their son Francesco.
Agnes is Rome’s foremost tour guide, so it’s well worth following her blog for regular inspiration about Roman art and architecture.
The request from the visitors was for Scottish seafood, so we took ourselves to Cafe Fish in Stockbridge.
I’ve reviewed the place before, a while ago, when their lunch menu featured an excellent selection of seafood tapas. This was my first visit for dinner.
The restaurant, a bank conversion, is smart and clean, with a strong emphasis on whites and metals. It fits well with the cuisine on offer, which is something I like to see, but find quite rarely. Castle Terrace, which features food of profoundly exciting flavour, but deeply bland decor, is a notable mismatch, in this regard.
I digress. We were welcomed warmly and shown to our table, in the rear section. As a mixed language party, we had considerable fun and games with the menu. “What is Scrabster?” was an entirely reasonable and particular favourite question.
What was clear was that Francesco wanted fish n chips. While “the adults” played to and fro with the orders, he sat smiling like a perfect cherub.
With orders placed, our quite excellent waitress thought that was the balance of her work done for the evening. Ha!
Pre-starters arrived, in the shapely form of 11 oysters. They didn’t have the full dozen, so the 11 were charged at the half dozen rate, which was a rather civilised way to view things. They were excellent, hitting all the classic notes.
Starters arrived, along with Francesco’s much anticipated fish n chips. Ours looked very bonnie, but I did cast an envious eye at the chunky chips that accompanied his tailored fish.
Having said that, I’m not sure I’ve had a better starter, lately, than my sashimi of scallops and salmon, served with a simple seaweed and citrus salad. Fresher fish would be hard to find, and a more sensitive accompaniment, likewise. The resounding notes of approbation round the table backed up my view.
Main courses were very good, with the dish of sea bass with apple, mussels and broccoli working very nicely.
We rounded things out with excellent cheese, from Mellis, a much appreciated espresso brulee, and suitably viscous espresso.
So overall, Cafe Fish was an absolute winner. The evening service was as good as the lunchtime and then some. The excellence of the seafood with which we were presented was incredibly impressive. I would urge you to pay it a visit, very soon.
Blythe scores Cafe Fish
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4.5/5 for service
giving an overall 17/20
Today’s questers were: Agnes, Chiara, Francesco, Massimo, Lorenzo, Blythe
We ate: oysters, trout, sashimi, sole goujons, sea bass, fish n chips, monkfish, chips, tatties, espresso creme brulee, cheese
We drank: white wine, red wine, dessert wine, water, espresso
We wore: jumpers (5), hoopy necklace, tweed
Total bill: £281