Local cafes are more important than ever to local communities in London. Book clubs have left the church hall for WhatsApp, Tinder Social is pretty much now considered a team sport, and it probably won’t be long before you’re being spoon-fed Crunchy Nut by a hydra-powered-drone. Nowadays, get lazy and you’ll lose all human contact. Your Amazon Echo will be the only thing at your funeral - and you definitely won’t need to know the weather in Ibiza at that point. So although they may be at the bottom of Elon Musk’s list of things to revolutionise, local cafes have an essential role in supporting our social fabric. Because these cafes have real people in them. Many of them look each other in the eye, swap stories and tell jokes, generally not stabbing each other. To see this in London really is a wonderful thing.
You may indeed enjoy the familiarity of these cafes and although you’re usually guaranteed to see some cute babies, it’s rare you expect the food to be anything to get worked up about. But Wet Fish is a little different.
Why is that? Well, their steak for example is doused in a filthy cheesy stilton. Their duck leg sits in a coconut sauce and their fish and chips is stand out good. Even the healthy options are solid. As far as local cafes go, they’re punching.
Wet Fish is one of those spots that’s just as safe for chilled brunch as a swanky dinner and it’s far better than its modest name would indicate. It’s a great place to surprise a date with a hidden gem to show them you’re ‘mysterious and shit,’ and you can either sit out on the wide pavement for some quality people watching, or in their dining room with a view of the kitchen above. Both have a really great homely feel. As with anywhere except the Alice House in West Hampstead, it’s quite a grown up crowd, so put on a shirt.
So when the robots take over, those of us that put our trust in places like Wet Fish for that all important facetime (the one that wasn’t the one invented by Steve Jobs) will at least know how to tell the artificially intelligent beings apart from the humans. We’ll also be the ones eating delicious homely food whilst everyone else checks Snapchat to see whether there’s a special robot-Armageddon-filter.
If you don’t speak posh, they mean ‘bread and dip’. It’s good crunchy savoury olive bread but double up on the dip – a teaspoon’s worth just doesn’t cut the rations we roll with.
It’s called Wet Fish this, so if this was bad we’d have turned the table over in rage and screamed fire. But it’s not, so none of those things happened. The thick and crispy batter doesn’t come away from the soft flakey fish inside and the homemade tartare sauce is salty and creamy and delicious.
We wonder how many people ordered this without seeing “hazelnut and stilton sauce.” Because, like a baby dressed as Donald Trump, a hazelnut and stilton sauce is not the kind of thing you want creeping up on you. If you’re expecting it though, you’ll be delighted. The steak is beautifully cooked and that sauce is absolute filth. Order this if you’re feeling like an early night.
This might sound a bit healthy for you but it’s a really tasty, satisfying bowl of food. It’s light for sure but not lacking in punchy salty flavours.