Dermot O’Learys in Brighton…
16th June 2011
On a somewhat breezy June day, I ventured out to be besides the sea-side, Brighton in this case. A yearning for ‘Fish & Chips’ determined the path of my day… I hadn’t done my research but knew I’d be able to sniff out a good chippy or rely on local word of mouth.
A stroll along the promenade and piers, threw up the usual tourist vendors… lots of candy floss and junk food, but alas not the place for me. A local then suggested that the Harry Ramsden’s was the ‘best’ offering in town. I recall going to this same Harry Ramsden’s when I was ten years old and at the time it being the bee’s knees. Alas, I was ten and the fact this is now a nation-wide chain, has lost some magic in my eyes.
The further I walked away from the sea, this saddened me, but with the gusty sea and wind wreaking avengence, I was glad of some warmth and shelter.
Who’d of thought that Mr Dermot O’Leary would be my saviour? – Well, from TV Presenter to Restaurateur… his restaurant ‘Fishy Fishy’ was my choice of the day. Located in the town centre, trade was bustling, a full house for our late lunch service.
Seeing the words: “Fresh, Local, Seasonal & Sustainable” written on a black-board was reassuring and at least started to justify the price tag of ‘Brasserie’ fish and chips.
Starters: Potted Crab with Melba Toast
A little disappointing, not enough mace or cayenne (something with a kick or an ounce of flavour) and the butter had just unappealingly congealed. I long for the day I can visit Cromer and taste their most celebrated Cromer crab, potted, dressed or just anyhow…
Mains: ‘Fishy Fishy’ Fish & Chips
I really like the presentation of the two fillets, like leaping dolphins. Obviously no Cod on the menu, my fillets were Channel- caught pollock and whiting, crispily battered in a good beer batter mix. Accompanying this were minted, mushy peas, a homemade tartare sauce & skinny chips. The latter perplexed me… skinny chips! As a traditionalist, I like my chips (with fish) to be a thick cut, crispy and well salted, with no vinegar in sight.
On finishing my plate, I did ask Co-Owner, James Ginzley on the use of skinny chips. He remarked that he and the Team had been through so many tasting sessions and this combo of potatoe choice, chip size and oil was the most preferred. To bolster my preference, he told me that I shared it with HRH Prince Phillip. James had recently catered for a party and he had made exactly the same remarks… so at least one cannot state that it’s not the ‘common’ choice.
On this note. I’d had my fill. This was most unlike myself, as I didn’t feel like dessert. I was looking around for any signs of our illustrious celebrity restaurateur and then I spotted that there were framed press coverage pieces, guiding you up the stairs. The most notable was one with Dermot on the OFM cover with fish in his mouth.
With the bill, some cute ‘Fishy Fishy’ sweets were laid down, as well as a sneak peak at the upcoming cookbook, now available on Amazon. It seems cookbooks are an easy sell to diners these days, if they’ve enjoyed their meals, who knows they might wish to purchase it to recreate their meal.
Their intentions and hard work are well-meaning. My starter a let down and my main was pretty good. The brasserie menu had a lot of fish specials to offer… mussels galore, fish on or off the bone and a shell-fish extravaganza. I can see that this is a busy hot-spot for the town and hope that those dishes are executed with love and care. A second outlet has now opened up in Poole, so who knows where Mr O’Leary will pop up next?
FishyFishy Seafood Brasserie 36 East Street, Brighton, East Sussex. BN1 1HL Telephone: 01273 723750 Website: http://www.fishyfishy.co.uk/booking.html