A taste of the sea which will have you Hoek-ed!

Review by Ethan Shaw

FISH-lovers can angle for a sumptuous treat at a new West London restaurant which promises an eclectic mix of the finest British seafood with a touch of South African flair.

Fish Hoek opened its doors In Chiswick at the end of November and the emphasis on the finest and freshest quality ingredients has already made it London's must-visit eatery over the festive season.

With a relaxed ambience and perfectly balanced atmosphere, the food really is the star of the show - with just about every delicious fish dish imaginable afforded a place to shine on the delectably diverse menu.

Similar to its sister restaurant, Springbok Grill, most of the ingredients at Fish Hoek are flown in freshly from the southern hemisphere to ensure absolute quality above all else.

As South African chef and owner, Pete Gottgens, explained from his kitchen which can be seen from the restaurant and is the heartbeat of the venue, the sourcing of the food is actually more important than the cooking.

"It's so important to get decent fish because if the quality is there you don't have to do much. You just find the right combinations to compliment the fish," he told Indie London.

"It's hard work but I always wanted a decent fish restaurant. I've been in Chiswick for six years and ths success of Springbok, my first restaurant, made me realise the potential here."

The plan appears to be working: Fish Hoek has been busy throughout its first week and over Saturday lunch 150 business cards were distributed among the local business community.

Pete's partner, Sara Stephenson, who works in the restaurant, added: "We want to appeal to the whole community, business and pleasure.

"But at the moment we're just enjoying it. There's no problem working together because we both have similar high standards and won't compromise on quality."

The South African touches are evident in everything from the food and wine to the relaxed ethos and waiting staff.

Split into two sections, half and full, the menu serves as starter and main course rolled into one, with so many choices it is hard to know where to start.

Well-known favourites like Monkfish, Queen prawns and smoked haddock with poached egg sit easily alongside more exotic treats like Cape Malay pickled fish, mahi mahi and Nambian sole with herb butter.

It all provides a well balanced and more importantly, not too pricey, meal to suit all occasions.

Of the future, and possible expansion, Pete added: "It's better to do one properly for the time being. It's easy to be put on a pedestal and get knocked off, so I'm just going to enjoy myself and let the food do the talking."

Fish Hoek is open at 6-8 Elliot Road, Chiswick, for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday and for brunch on Sundays. For reservations contact 020 8742 0766.