Restaurant Of The Week: Meat The Fish
Walking along the King’s Road epitomises that old London adage that this city is like hundreds of little towns all squished together. Pass by the chicest of shop fronts nestled beneath swooping red brick townhouses, and soak up the neighbourhood feel as shoppers swing by with boxy paper bags brimming with brand new goodies and cafe bars spill into the street. Turn off the main stretch onto leafy Cadogan Gardens, where the comparative quiet envelops you almost immediately. Tucked behind a magnificent floral display of orange koi fish swimming among the foliage is Meat the Fish, an all-day Mediter-Asian restaurant serving up the best of seasonal and local produce across lunch and dinner menus with an exemplary balance of meat, fish and plant-based dishes.
From the team behind Marylebone’s Mayha – the Nothing But Love group – comes another Beirut import. Interestingly, Meat the Fish began life as a premium meat and fish delivery service in Lebanon in 2011, before opening a restaurant post in 2014. Flash forward to 2023, however, and a Chelsea postcode makes Meat the Fish unrecognisable from those early delivery service days. Step inside to be greeted by the perfect blend of quirky but luxe interiors, creating a warm ambience that’s accentuated by the friendliness of the team. The enveloping light wood-paneled walls are interrupted by a large fire-place-like installation of winding tentacles reaching to the ceiling, and reflected in a mirrored wall on the opposite side. Shiny black floors are ornamented with rough white stripes, as if someone has taken a thick felt tip pen to the floor. Circumventing the shimmering silver central bar – pull up a mustard stool for a cocktail and bar bites – the chic floor makes way to a pocket carpeted area at the restaurant’s rear, where lower tables and softer chairs emit a nightcap vibe. Here, an incredible five-panel textile mural stretches across the wall, with florals sprouting from the bottom and top, climbing towards a floating crab, the head of a donkey, and a cow jumping over the moon.
Soak it all up sipping on a cocktail from my new favourite cocktail menu in London: the drinks are split into welcome drinks, and those that pair best with meat or fish dishes (I highly recommend the Margarita). But of course, we’re mainly here for the food. The vast menu is split into raw, salads, bowls, mains, to share, and sides. Harking back to those premium delivery service days, expect the highest quality fish in that raw section; think caviar, scallops, oysters and sashimi, plus ‘tartare of the day’. You can also find delightful raw fish in the Tostados Ceviche, a sharp blend of Mexican and Peruvian cuisine; bite through ribbons of raw salmon, tuna, seabass or hamachi piled atop a crispy fried taco with a satisfying crunch.
The fresh salads come highly recommended, pairing well with a selection of small plates. Naturally, don’t miss the Tostados Ceviche; pair it with moreish Padron Peppers (with wasabi furikake, lime and bonito flakes for that model Mediter-Asian blend), the exceptional Taco Maco (grilled sambai chicken with black bean and corn salsa, avocado crema and magic sauce in a soft flour tortilla), and embrace the restaurant’s Lebanese roots with Hummus Ikura and sourdough toast.
For mains, simplicity shines. The catch of the day is cooked to perfection, served with a wedge of lemon. The Butcher’s Cut 45 day aged ribeye steak similarly sits alone on a plate, served with horseradish cream, salsa verde and dijon mustard – again, cooked to perfection. Veggies can opt for the Miso Aubergine, or fish lovers will enjoy the Black Paella. Turn to the sides for an extra something, from mushrooms with samphire asparagus to bok choy and broccoli. And don’t miss the crispy smashed potatoes, warming and soft in the middle, with a superbly crunchy exterior.
The Final Word: Making a splash on Cadogan Gardens, Meat the Fish is a stunningly beautiful restaurant that tastes as good as it looks.
39 Cadogan Gardens, London SW3 2TB