Thursday, 15 October 2009

Just another Thursday

I deem myself very lucky to have started my fishmonger career at the very top. Being situated in SW3 I am able to deal with the highest quality of produce on a day basis. There are many lines covered by regular fishmongers that I have never sold or simply avoid selling. This is not because they are not nice, in fact some are delicious, but at the end of the day we are a business and need to sell everything to turn a profit; waste is criminal. This blog post is really a photo call of my Thursday delivery highlighting the quality that can be achieved across the board. People tell me that Tuesday and Friday are the only days to buy fresh fish. I disagree. I thought it would be nice for all to see what quality is available if searched for in London.

As with any of the best fishmongers in London I source my highest quality fish from the West Country. Plymouth, with its computerised Dutch auction system, Brixham with its draw of hungry wholesalers and Newlyn with its rich exporters all encourage the best selection of fisherman to land they fare as the prices will rarely be topped.

Although bought through a London wholesaler my scallops are again from the West Country and come via Brixham. They look as good as they taste.

Tagged Cornish Bass,, landed in Newlyn really are the cream of the crop. Other excellent sources, such as the English Channel, offer high quality, but the MSC accredited Bass hand line fishery is rarely surpassed

The second important MSC accredited line fishery is for the Atlantic mackerel where most are landed into Newlyn. Note the shear size of these fish that overshadow their small waterery trawled cousins, usually deriving from the west of Scotland, and caught by Spanish boats.

The best red mullet I have ever had are landed in Newlyn. These fish are really special but unfortunately have suffered, like many species, of becoming fashionable. As restaurants increase their usage the price then begins to rise as many are chasing a few fish.

The cheeky Guarnard is visually my favourite of all the British food fish. The species, Red, Grey and Tub, make up this hugely interesting fish group that has also suffered price wise through its own success

The Turbot, or the king of the sea, is a really special fish. A great dinner party spectacle in its whole form. My fish are mostly from Plymouth, but Newlyn does indeed yield some beauties. A Close relative of the Turbot, and a member of the left eye flatfish family, is the Brill. This is my absolute favourite and fish of this quality are an absolute must.

The John Dory. Simply sublime and a true favourite of our French and Italian customers. Generally served as fillets when eating in a restaurant this fish really must be tried whole as the bones yield so much flavour.

The South West Monkfish is the best in the business. As acceptable as the Scottish monk is it is always a little wet and has much larger flaps that yield wastage. Always look for the nice pink coloured flesh indicating the height of freshness. All the South West ports produce high quality Monkfish and if searched for Monkfish liver can also be located

I defy anyone to find better plaice, haddock, or cod (when available) than that landed at the three South West ports. Always consistently superb quality and a joy to sell on a daily basis. Not much to choose between the ports but it would seem Plymouth yields the best place whereas Newlyn edges the haddock and cod.

My Soles are the best anywhere. The Plymouth Lemons are just amazing and outstrip the Channel, scotch and Icelandic by fathoms. By the nature of the product they are a little more expensive but when reciting the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’, in the world of fish Lemon Sole really matches that theory. I recently spoke about my Dovers in its own blog post to the joy of the West Country.

All hail the West Country as their squid is also the best money can buy. Inshore netting or jigging offers such high quality that a huge percentage of ink sacks are still intact for customers to use in their pasta dishes.

The Scots do some great fish including these live creel caught west coast Langoustine. These are the finest prawn available and if you see these lively chaps you have too try.

Native English Lobsters

These Razors are Scotch and lively little chaps to boot


  1. I am so glad I found this blog, via "Through the Gaps"!!!

  2. Thanks Paul, i am glad you like it and find it interesting.