It’s amazing how a bit of pavement can transform an area for the better. A case in point is Herne Hill, where the end of Railton Road by the station has been transformed into a town square by closing it off to traffic and pedestrianising most of it. The area, which has always been a pleasant residential district, now has a focal point where people can wander, sit outside and have a coffee and a chat away from the noise of the traffic, and it’s now the location of the increasingly popular Herne Hill Market every Sunday, as well as cafes, bars and restaurants.
Fish & Wine opened at 222 Railton Rd earlier this year and I’d heard from a friend it was really good, so much so that she’d been back several times. The name is a bit misleading (and maybe underwhelming) as it serves a variety of dishes, so if you’re not a fish lover don’t let that put you off. It’s unpretentious but has a welcoming and cosy atmosphere, with white tablecloths and comfortable seating with space for around 25 diners.
We went for dinner and chose a duck ravioli starter to share. The pasta was good and the filling interesting and it came in a jus with pistachios – it sounds unusual but it worked. Mains were roast pheasant for Mrs D with potato rosti, savoy cabbage, bread sauce and cranberry sauce, while I had the pan-fried sea bass fillet with silverskin onions, shrimps and samphire. Both dishes were perfectly cooked and came in generous portions. In particular, the pheasant had the lovely strong flavour you’d expect but was also succulent and tender – something that’s often missing with game.
For dessert we shared a pistachio semi freddo with rasberry compote – lovely! (Can’t resist semi freddo since a trip to Cagliari in Sardinia and discovered a place called ‘Gocce’). Accompanied by a nice bottle of Picpoul, the bill came to £80. Generally starters were priced at £7-9, mains around £14-18 with desserts at £6-7. Lunch seems very good value with dishes priced in the £7-9 range.
Fish & Wine is a great addition to the area and is good value for money. The quality ingredients, high standard of cooking and pleasant ambience and service add up to a winning formula in my opinion.