Situated just a 3-5 minute walk from Tottenham Court Road station, The Chipping Forecast Soho is the perfect place to drop into after a spot of shopping on London’s Oxford Street. The concept? Fresh Cornish fish they pride themselves on getting from hook to plate in as little as 48 hours, while using sustainable fishing methods to cause minimal impact on marine life. The music inside was buzzing, meaning at times it felt a little more like a club than a restaurant, but looking around at the fishing pictures and the beach hut type wood panelling on the walls, this transported you back to the seaside.
I love fish, but not many of my friends do, meaning that I don’t often get to visit seafood restaurants. What I loved about The Chipping Forecast was how versatile the menu is. You can go all out with with beer battered fish and beef dripping chips. You can have non fish options like steak and grilled halloumi. Or if you are of a healthier disposition, you can opt for grilled fish and salad. So everyone’s happy.
To start, we tried the fish cakes and the mussels which were cooked in Brewdog punk IPA, garlic, cream, and parsley. I’m not into creamy dishes, but the beer really helped tone down the cream, so it was great for me. It was so good that my only wish was that I had something to dip into the sauce once all the mussels had gone. This dish is also available as a main course, so I’d highly recommend ordering some chips or bread to make the most of all that hoppy loveliness.
Fish cakes are hard to do right as you never want to be fobbed off with lots of potato and next to nothing fish. These had a really good salmon to potato ratio, with a fluffy interior and a very satisfactory crispy panko breadcrumb shell. If you order this dish, make sure you use the provided lemon on the plate: a squeeze of lemon really enhances the salmon.
For mains, we wanted to go down the traditional fish and chips route, but at the same time do embrace the extensive menu. If you opt for haddock or cod, you have the choice of beer batter, gluten free batter, panko bread crumbs, or as it comes. The grilled haddock was soft, delicate and flaked beautifully apart. However my MVP was the beer battered cod. Looking around at the other tables, the battered fish seemed like a popular choice and it was easy to see why. There was a good fish to batter ratio, with a batter which wasn’t too thick and was gloriously crispy.
It goes without saying, I had to try the chips which were up there as some of the best I have ever had. Besides the great crunch, I was really impressed with the seasoning which was spot on, meaning that I didn’t have to reach for the salt, vinegar, and ketchup like I usually would elsewhere.
If you are health conscious and / or vegetarian, do try the superfood salad (red quinoa, broccoli, squash, avocado, pomegranate, and sunflower seeds). Mine on the day had a slight variation and contained cucumber, peppers, and tomatoes instead of the avocado. I had mine as a side and was expecting a modest portion size, however I was pleasantly surprised by how much was there. I wasn’t sure how well it would work with the fish, due to the sweet nature of some of the ingredients like the pomegranate seeds, however much to my surprise, the salad wasn’t a sweet dish at all. On the contrary, it had a good amount of salt which lent itself well to seafood. The superfood salad is also available as a main course which at the time I did wonder how filling it would be, but having eaten it, I now know how substantial it is (I definitely didn’t go hungry!)
Pay The Chipping Forecast a visit for an intimate, cosy and friendly meal, with food that makes your soul sing. This restaurant isn’t just for fish eaters, there are plenty of non fish and veggie options available on their menu here. It’s worth having the specials on your radar too as they often do a starter, main, sides, and dessert for less than £20 – which is great value for Central London (they also have a branch in Notting Hill). If you have any specific dietary requirements, do let the team know who will be only too happy to help. Coeliacs are easily accommodated thanks to their gluten free batter, and if you are vegetarian and like the look of the chips (and trust me, they are as good as they look), request for these to be cooked in rapeseed oil rather than beef dripping.