The Wet Fish Cafe & Brasserie

THE WET FISH CAFE & BRASSERIE242 West End Lane, West Hampstead, London NW6 1LG


Decided on an impromptu visit to West Hampstead for a spot of lunch, so decided to quickly research for a good local café/restaurant with good food reviews. My friend and I came across some for this café on the Timeout and ‘bestlondonrestaurants’ websites who quoted that this café produced ‘modern, eclectic, comfort food and was good for vegetarians’. We decided to take a chance and go without reading the menu, because we were excited to see what this cafe would offer.

Reading the brunch menu outside the cafe I could not find any good ‘fish’ dishes to eat at a restaurant that includes ‘fish’ in its name! Am I wrong to presume there would be? There was only one vegetarian option (aubergine wrap), several egg dishes and salads (which included fish). I was not in the mood for either a salad or an egg dish (very fried breakfast like) so disappointingly I had to choose the only veggie option available.

At first when I walked into the café, I thought the decor was nice with small up-lighters on the wall with a bar section covered in bricks and the original ‘wet fish’ shop sign in the inside of the restaurant. At the back of the menu, it included a history of the building and the café which was a nice touch I appreciated. However whilst waiting for the food, I found the decor (on more inspection) not very impressive, especially the tiled walls – which as I understand were the original tiles from when the building was first built. These tiles instead of giving a retro/vintage feel (which I think is what they were going for), reminded me unfortunately of toilet walls.

When the waiter came to our table, we were informed that the aubergine wrap was no longer on the brunch menu and had been replaced by a baked polenta dish. I have never tried baked polenta before and by this time, I was starving so I had no other choice but to order that (great!). Before the food arrived (which took approximately 20 minutes) I visited the bathroom. It was small, smelly and a bit dirty. (As you will probably find out, I am quite picky about the state of toilets). Whilst we were eating I was unfortunately getting wafts from the loo, which was not very pleasant at all!

My friend ordered an egg dish (scrambled eggs, potato, chorizo, refried beans, toast and salad) and my baked polenta dish came with mushrooms, tomato sauce, spinach and cubes of feta cheese. Admittedly the dish looked very appetizing and I hoped it tasted how it looked but disappointingly it was very bland. Only the mushrooms and cheese cubes, gave it any flavour. The portion size was also quite small, so I had finished eating relatively quickly. I tasted a little of the beans and egg from my friends dish, which again I found bland despite adding salt and pepper. However my friend, was happy with the portion size and the food

Verdict: Probably would not go again

Overall I didn’t feel satisfied or happy with my meal. I felt it took a while to be served, we were done eating quite quickly due to the small portion sizes, smell waves travelling from the loo and only one vegetarian main. 

  • Food: 3/10 – bland, took a while to be served, small portions and lack of vegetarian options and fish mains on the brunch menu
  • Ambience: relaxed and cool with a good selection of Motown music in the background
  • Decor: unusual, retro but not to my taste. Tables also very small.
  • Service: friendly
  • Value for money: not very good, quite expensive for the dishes ordered.

(Egg dish, baked polenta, 1 fruit smoothie = £25.09 (including a 12.5% service charge)

                                                   Baked Polenta Dish                                                                                        Egg dish


~ by khannablog on October 2, 2012.

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