Fishers in Leith
By Diana Spencer
On its website, Fishers Leith claims to be "the last word in Edinburgh's finest casual dining for the last 20 years". Its location, in a 17th-century watchtower, right on the Shore in Leith, is certainly promising. I don't know if there has ever been any research into whether seafood actually tastes better in close proximity to water, but I find a view of boats from the window always helps.
The restaurant is small and surprisingly, for a Wednesday night, bustling with happy diners. That thing of legend, the Scottish Summer, was in full swing and spirits were high. The place is popular with tourists it seems, the voices around us came in various different languages and accents, and we were impressed to see the friendly waitress conversing easily in French with the table next to ours.
To start, I couldn't resist the classic: fat, juicy Shetland mussels steamed in white wine, cream and garlic, though the squid salad was apparently also delicious and perfectly balanced with the smoky chorizo.
For main course, I was torn between a fillet of plaice and the whole lemon sole. I was encouraged by our waiter to go for the sole as this seems to be a signature dish for the restaurant and his father's favourite. Although I usually opt for a simpler fillet, I certainly did not regret my choice as the fish fell off the bones without effort and melted in the mouth. It was served with smoked salmon, lemon & tarragon butter and buttery new potatoes. My usually fish-skeptical dining partner delightedly wolfed down the hake with clams and samphire in a cider cream sauce.
The sticky toffee pudding and hazelnut brownie, perhaps slightly heavy choices to end the meal, were both excellent, though the brownie might have been easier to eat if the hazelnuts were chopped rather than whole.
The sun is currently shining on Edinburgh, in both a meteorological and culinary sense. At a time when it seems a fantastic new restaurant is opening in the city every week, it is important not to forget those eateries like Fishers that have stood the test of time and consistently impress.
Fishers in Leith 1 The Shore, Edinburgh, EH6 6QW
0131 554 5666
Mon-Sat 12pm - Late Sunday 12:30pm - Late