57 Charlotte Street, London W1T 4PD
020 7580 3289/http://www.pescatori.co.uk/charlotte_street.php
Charlotte St and its tributaries are full of restaurants feeding the media and advertising types who frequent the neighbourhood. From the hip (Bubbledogs) to the stylish (Roka), from chain restaurants such as Zizzi to the cutting edge (Dabbous), this part of Fitzrovia contains a real cross-section of what’s happening in the London restaurant market today. Pescatori is a Charlotte St family-owned Italian fish restaurant with a sibling in Mayfair’s Dover St. The interior, with its white tiled floor, arches and rough white plasterwork, is something of a throwback to the Mario and Franco trattorie that so revolutionised the London in the 1960s but the menu is more contemporary, offering some interesting and sometimes unexpected dishes.
Six Fines de Claires Oysters (£14.30) were served in the classic French style with a red wine vinegar and shallot sauce (sauce mignonette). Fines de Claire are smallish oysters grown in salty marshes (claire) with a high water content and a slight hazelnut taste and these were fresh and firm bodied.
Seared Loch Crinan Scallops & Smoked pancetta, cauliflower puree (£12.50)-the scallops were wrapped in the pancetta which was nicely crisp leaving the scallops soft and juicy in the centre. We were drinking a robust and herby bottle of Verdicchio Le Vaglie (Marche) (£35.50) that went particularly well with my next course.
Fritto Misto Di Mare (£15.50) was a fairly hefty portion of squid, whitebait, cod, red mullet and soft-shell crab-the batter was a bit heavy for my taste but the fish was fresh and full of flavour.
Salt Baked Sea Bass (£21.50) came from the specials menu-this is a great way to cook bass leaving the fish firm and sweet tasting.
For our sides we had Sautéed Escarole with anchovies and Fried Courgette and Parmesan (£3.50 each).
I couldn’t taste the anchovy in the escarole dish which was lacking in flavour, but the courgettes were crisp and suitably cheesy. There is something about this dish that always strikes me as being frivolous and it always makes me happy to see it on a menu-maybe that’s why they serve it at The Ivy?
Barolo Poached Pear with cinnamon ice cream (£6)-An excellent version of a classic dessert.
The Selection of Gelato and Sorbetti (£5.00) were all gelati-good gelati but no sorbetti!
I like Pescatori. It’s unpretentious and the food is honest and straightforward. Service under the watchful eye of Dominique Couillaud is fast-paced, efficient and friendly and for a straightforward and reasonably priced lunch in this part of town it is a very good option.