Fishers is a restaurant suspended in a time when cafe, time and dedication was the focus of a meal, writes James Howells
Much like the cracking of a crab’s shell or the breaking of a lobster’s tail, the rules of running a successful restaurant can be broken down to reveal the tastiest and simplest answer.
Simply put, the rule for a successful and thriving restaurant is to do something and do it well. This is how restaurants survive: they focus on doing one thing and then spend their years perfecting it.
If they genuinely love and have a passion for the thing they love doing, then they truly can become masters of their craft. People love that one thing and it means they keep coming back, because that place is the place that keeps doing the one thing the best. New restaurants become favourites which become locals which then become institutions. That’s what Fishers is. An institution. A 16-year-old Clifton institution that stands proud in its uniformity of white and blue like a well-presented fishing boat in a harbour.
The most appealing thing about eating seafood is its theatrics. There is nothing more admirable and impressive than a dining companion who knows where the bones are, what shells to crack and “where all the good meat is”. The dining room at Fishers is itself a treasure trove of exotic paraphernalia from adventures at sea, even from places as far away as…the English coast. The blue and white table cloths are a nod to classic English seaman formality, while the grease-proof paper on the tables, stamped with the Fishers logo, reminds you of the welcoming familiarity of your local fish and chip shop.
The menu, much like the catch from the local fisherman whom Fishers buy their supplies from, is ever changing, reiterating that bastardised, once familiar term ‘catch of the day’. The words fried and fish go together so well it only seemed right to start the meal with deep-fried calamari with sweet chilli sauce (£6.75) and beer-battered tiger prawns with chilli and soy dipping sauce (£7.95). This creates an impromptu sharer that is perfectly acceptable and wonderfully fun whilst sat at their spacious yet intimate tables.
Both the calamari and prawns were of good size — proper fisherman’s fare.
To follow was whole baked seabass with chilli, coriander and lime dressing (£15.95), wonderfully cooked and inspiring to see whole fish on a menu. A roast fillet of cod with butter beans and chorizo followed (£16.95), another perfectly cooked piece of fish married with a classic combination of flavours.
Along with à la carte dishes, diners can also experience the famed seafood platters, adding even more theatrics to an already show-stopping meal. The staff are massively inviting, the kitchen team are very talented and the whole experience was a welcoming familiarity which we just don’t see enough of these days.
35 Princess Victoria St, Bristol
0117 974 7044