The location of Fishteria on Queens Road West was once a wholly forgettable spot called Opera House where dinner was so bad that red paint was splashed on their door in a not very subtle warning from the Italian Ragu Liberation Front. At least I assume that’s who was responsible. Fast forward a year and the space is now under the talented Italian Gianni Caproli. You’ll know him from Giando, formerly by Fenwick Pier and now in Star Street, as well as eat.it in Causeway Bay, amongst others.
The name Fishteria bugs me slightly but only because I don’t understand what it’s trying to convey. Is it fish hysteria? A fish cafeteria? Regardless, inside the decor is nautical but nice, with a carved cephalopod one of the features overlooking our table.
This quick lunch with three comrades showed sound Italian flavours and technique based on good quality produce that is Caproli’s hallmark.
The set lunch runs at $238 for 3 courses, with various supplements along the way. The ‘Octopus Gallega Potato’ came with a paprika and parsley dressing and, while I wasn’t expecting a pureé, the octopus was well cooked, the mash smooth and the seasoning just so. Paprika (The Hungarian word for pepper, fact fans) can be a fickle little number, but here it was just the right amount for that smoked pepper action.
Linguine with mixed seafood came with an $18 surcharge but was worth every cent for a generous bowl of serious shellfish good times. A substantial scallop, more of that octopus action and hefty prawns showed no skimping in the kitchen, while the linguine were the perfect base for the cherry tomato and garlic sauce. It was comparatively simple cooking, but done very well.
The set included a dessert or coffee and, while some of the more lithe table guests opted for an Americano, it seemed disrespectful not to try chef’s chocolate mousse. It was richer and thicker than a cast member upstairs at Downton Abbey but, like the show, difficult not to revisit time and again.
Along with a very passable Sicilian white, lunch came to $500 per person, the only slight downside being the madly expensive bottles of sparkling water at $78 each. That’s a lot of coin for H2O, but didn’t detract too much from a pretty splendid way to spend a Friday lunchtime.