On the canal at Maida Vale, a fish restaurant open only for the summer months – perhaps a wise decision, as its non-al fresco attractions are severely limited.
Right from the moment we were told that this is a restaurant which didn’t offer bread, we knew that this Maida Vale canal-sider wasn’t going quite to be the idyllic experience we had hoped. How can you have a fish restaurant without bread? (Well, you could have a Chinese fish restaurant without bread, obviously, but that would be another kettle of, well you know’)
Bread, the staff of life, if no longer always free, is a basic part of the non-oriental hospitality business. Even many chippies will do you a slice of industrial white. Anglo/French fish dishes require bread like love requires marriage, and horses carriages.
If the food had otherwise turned out to be spectacular, we would just have left wondering why the establishment had flunked the very top grade of satisfaction by needlessly failing to offer a complete package. Here, however, it just tended to concentrate our attention on how dull and uninspired such non-farinaceous fare as was graciously offered up by the management turned out to be.
How do they hope to get away with it? Well, it’s that exotic location, isn’t it? As pleasant as can be (albeit in a tightly-packed way), for those who bag a waterside table.
But anyone hoping for some sort of Normandie-sur-Grand Union experience is likely to be sorely disappointed.