Fish at 55 Rochester High Street

Zahra Barri

1 Jun 2022

Zahra's Column this month goes foodie! Rochester High Street has welcomed a new fish restaurant and Zahra has tried it out…

Fish. I’ve always been a fan. However, it’s not for everyone. I know many who actively avoid the stuff. The only omega 5 my fish hating friend gets is picking the batter off the scampi at a Toby Carvery.

Ditto Sushi. I’ve always been a fan. However, it’s not for everyone. I know many who actively avoid the stuff. The only cod liver oil my sushi hating friend gets is picking the rice off her Nigiri rolls included in her meal deal at Boots.

So, one has to admire Fish at 55 for opening a business based on an ingredient that is more divisive than the Brexit vote. Perhaps this review is biased because I love seafood and sushi so much, I suggested my ex-boyfriend name his band after it. (In the end he disregarded Seafood and Sushi in favour of Bowling for Soup, which reminds me Fish at 55’s seafood soup starter is soup-erb).

But to hell with it, I took my fish hating, sushi loathing fussy eater / definitely not a ‘foodie’ friend, to Fish at 55 on Saturday night in an effort to radicalise her tastebuds and educate her on new types of cuisine. If the Toby Carvery anecdote didn’t paint the picture enough, my friend is very much ‘a meat and two veg’ kind of gal. I mean the most adventurous thing she did with food was that she once ordered “the Mussolini” when we were eat, pray, loving in Rome, thinking it was a type of pasta. I was of course quite mortified, I felt like a character in Fawlty Towers, don’t mention the war! So, taking this girl to somewhere as decadent and as cultured as Fish at 55 I was pretty sure she’d be a, erm, fish out of water, so to speak. Alas I took her and what a dining experience it was!

Upon entering Fish at 55 you are instantly greeted with a sensory delight, the smell of fish. Now I’m not talking Carol from Accounts has just microwaved her tuna mayo jacket potato. I’m talking the scent of holidays; the aroma of the seaside. So much so I could almost hear the sound of seagulls. Sadly, this pavlovian response to the aromatic memory of summers spent on the French Riviera and er, Brighton Pavilion during the credit crunch was only interrupted by the sound of my friend asking the waitress, ‘What’s the closest thing on the menu to a MacDonalds Fillet -o-fish?”. It was a testament to the waitress for keeping a straight face as she politely recommended the pan-fried breaded cod. However, I am pleased to say that I managed to convince my friend to go fully out of her comfort zone and share a platter of Uramaki and Hosamaki sushi rolls, assuaged of course by the several glasses of Proseccos she drank beforehand as her Dutch courage. Her verdict: “this is the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth” she said smiling with bits of emerald green nori seaweed sticking out between her teeth. “The best thing you’ve put in your mouth!” I squealed with delight before adding, “And you’ve put a lot of things in your mouth!”.

She was right. The food certainly does melt on your mouth. The sushi is as tender as silk and the pan-fried prawn starter, edible satin. Fish at 55 has range too. Not only are there two menus, one more European, the other of Asian influence, one also has the opportunity to create your own fish supper, by selecting the type of fish, how it's cooked, what sauce is drizzled and the choice of potato it is served with. I’ve never seen such an eclectic menu, from the shrimp to the seabass and from the sashimi to the sunomono, there’s a fish for every mood. And not only is the food divine but the staff are delightful. The ambience is buzzing, the place is packed on a Saturday night to an almost electric level. The service is both efficient and personable. I had a lovely chat with the manager who told me of their plans to create a Japanese Sake Bar in the basement which I am particularly excited about. Over three floors one can whizz round the world from Newquay to Nagaokakyō vis-à-vis Rochester! As if I needed another reason to love the High Street.

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