Isn’t it always true that the best things in life come up out of the blue and bite you on the bum!?
Well, more fool me..where have I been? I have just come back from a seriously great weekend away in Brighton where I didn’t just stumble across a restaurant, I literally FELL over it it was so good!
Dermot O’Leary joined forces with two of his closest friends Paul Shovlin and James Ginzler to open the Brighton brasserie called “Fishy Fishy”, dedicated to providing local, affordable, seasonal fish and seafood in a unique environment.
Three men and a baby it really was…Fishy Fishy was a dream and became reality when three old school friends joined forces and skills and really made it happen.
Their personalities and passion are very much evident in their menu derision, restaurant vibe and surrounding design, alongside their modern and confident wine list. Which of course, was what jumped out at me before I even ordered my starter!
I was in Fishy Fishy, Brighton but they also have a sister restaurant in Poole, Dorset.
I was thoroughly impressed with the wine list, and of course the food which simply reflects the passion and forethought for fish and it’s complement to wine (oh, such a wine writer that I say it the other way around!). I asked for an interview and very kindly, one of the co-owners of Fishy Fishy gave me the time to answer my questions.
‘Fishy Fishy’, opened in Spring 2009 and was the dream of three, thirty something very close friends who love food. Dermot said; “For years we’ve talked about opening and running our own restaurant, how it would work, where it would be, why it would be different. One day we got together and thought, let’s just do it!”.
Thanks to their partners Dee and Alice (who are responsible for the fabulous interior design), their personalities are reflected in this relaxed, trendy and classy venue.
James said; “I’m keen to make sure that, as we live by the sea, we use the fish on our doorstep wherever possible. I’m a bit of a fish obsessive and don’t believe that seasonal fish should be brought in from other places. Working with the local fishermen and suppliers as much as possible means the fish will be fresher, more affordable and have little or no food miles.”
Fishy Fishy is certainly what they say it is – a desirable, affordable, informal place to eat with fantastic food and wine on the menu!
1. What is the motivation behind the wines you have chosen? I was really impressed with the confidence behind the list and how you gently encouraged the consumer to be a little braver without scaring them off! Was this intentional?
We all love wine and feel like we know a little bit about it so perhaps that’s where the confidence comes through? Putting together our wine list was almost like deciding what songs you would put on a compilation album – we tried to mix it up without being too radical!
2. It was nice to see a Gruner Veltliner on the list. Would you consider some of the more modern German whites, Argentinian or South African indigenous grape varieties?
We have actually just added a really good Chenin Blanc on there. I am a massive fan of all Alsatian wines
3. Is it intentional that a large percentage of your wines are French, or is this just personal choice?
It’s a bit of both really. The (mostly Southern) French wines we have go well with shellfish and seafood. Picpoul and oysters – what a great mix!
4. What’s the most popular wine on your list?
Rayus Sauvignon Blanc, a real punchy, crisp, Spanish Sauvignon.
5. Do you get asked for advice on choosing wines or do you find many people choose the same classics as they find it difficult to match with shellfish acidity?
We love to recommend wines, it helps us educate people and also drives sales. Our staff love to talk about wine too – they have good fun with customers who are open to asking for help and want to learn because they are knowledgable about the wines we serve.
6. Do you believe people buy their wine based on price, and choose as an afterthought once they have picked their chosen course?
Yes, it’s most definitely price dependent. I think everyone has a ceiling price when choosing a bottle.
7. What is your stance on English wines, still and/or sparkling? Have you considered any other of the winery’s e.g. Chapel Down, rather than just Ridgeview?
I love English sparkling wines and have tried loads of them. For us, Ridgeview (Cavendish) just came out on top.
8. Have you considered breaking down your wine list into different categories, other than just white, red and rose? This can help people be a little braver when choosing wines and it makes the food and wine matching element more fun? Or maybe suggesting a particular wine by the glass with certain dishes you offer?
This is something we are looking into when we next change our menu.
9. What is your favourite wine and food combination?
Mmmm, that’s a hard one!! Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut with some freshly shucked oysters, or an Alberino with some freshly grilled mackerel
So I can’t recommend Fishy Fishy enough. Brighton was a scream but Fishy Fishy really was a gem find and I hope you all enjoy!
P.S. if you ever fancy some freshly shucked oysters or freshly grilled mackerel in Whitstable chaps, then give the Wine Angel a call please. I will return the favour with that bottle of Alvarino! Portuguese or Spanish, your call. Cheers for the interview and thanks for making my wonderful friend Faye’s hen do one to remember!
“The Fishy Fishy Cookbook is now available on Amazon and in all good book stores, priced £16.99. You can now download the Fishy Fishy Cookbook app FREE from the App Store – 10 recipes, video demonstrations, fishy facts and fun!”