The Easy Fish Company
Heaton Moor, Manchester
This is a rare thing: a brand new fishmongers with
some quality wet fish on display, and so much space it vaguely reminded
me of the old MacFisheries in Blackpool. To the side of the fish counter
and stretching backwards are a few fridges and displays with
delicatessen type products, including lots from the Cheshire Smokehouse
near Ringway. Keep going towards the back and you see a few simple,
Ikea-ish blonde wood tables and chairs and a small kitchen.
It has a simple menu, which is unsurprisingly heavily fish-based. It's only open lunch, so has the odd composition of smaller and larger dishes, both of which include 'sides', rather than a strict starter and main course structure. (If I recall correctly, there was just one dessert: homemade cake, which looked a tad industrial.) Considering we were in a fishmongers, with lots of lovely fish on display, I thought the menu was unduly limited: maybe there's an accountant insisting the two parts of the business be kept separate?
Thus my not-really-a-starter of whitebait came with thin, and clearly hand-cut chips. The whitebait were good, stikingly plump little fish, though perhaps not as strikingly good as I might have expected in a fishmongers.
Larger dishes are quite limited. The fish and chips being delivered to other tables looked good, if a little over-brown (both the fish and the chestnut colour large chips), and a huge portion for under a tenner. I had their fish of the day - plaice with allegedly sauté potatoes, asparagus and hollandaise. A good piece of thick plaice fillet was nicely, and plainly cooked. The potatoes were halved new potatoes that appeared merely to have been deep-fried. Nothing whatsoever wrong with the asparagus and hollandaise. I very much enjoyed this. On the menu, it is just shown as something like "fish of the day" and is unpriced. I was expecting to pay £13-£16 for it, but it was actually under £10 on the bill.
Not sure what the drinks arrangements are, though there are retail fridges and shelves of wine, which I presume you can drink on. I just had a Bundaberg ginger beer (one of, I think, three ginger beers on the drinks list!) and the whole lot came to somewhere between £15 and £20, which given the price of fish makes it very good value indeed.
What I missed was the opportunity to select fish from the wet fish counter and have it cooked in the kitchen (at an additional cost, of course - "fishage"??). That would really widen the choice on the limited menu, and maybe increase shop sales. They've got the fish there, so I don't see what they lose.
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Last updated: 27 April 2009