Fish Boutique in Notting Hill – Pescheria Mattiucci:
Right in the heart of fashionable Notting Hill, Pescheria Mattiucci styles itself as a ‘fish boutique’ and at one point used to supply Mediterranean fish to some of the leading Italian restaurants in London as well as to local residents. Apparently the Italian branches still do just that, but in Notting Hill now, the place is uniquely a restaurant/bistro serving a rather eclectic menu of fresh and cured fish, drinks and desserts. An odd assortment of sharing tables and spaces for one or two, Pescheria Mattiucci is perhaps as close as you can get to an Italian Seafood version of the Breakfast Club in style; informal and lively with a constant buzz from diners and the kitchen itself. Having been asked to review I thought it would be a good idea to take along an Italian friend – so Serena from into the F world joined me.
The menu is a scrapbook affair – cut and paste in the most literal sense.
But when it comes to food, the front of house team get serious!
Bread arrived as soft cubes or curly little bread sticks (which were very moreish)
We were persuaded to order one of the house specials – Crudo Mediterranea – a raw fish platter – in our case with octopus, swordfish and tuna, served with extra virgin olive oil, natural salt, orange and lemon. The tuna and swordfish were lovely but, even my Italian friend didn’t like the octopus which seemed a little slippery(!). This is a dish that really does need to be served very fresh – and for the most part we were happy.
Cured Salmon, on the other hand was a delicious revelation. It’s cured with salt, rather than smoked and was, at least for me, utterly delicious, though it might have been nice to have a different bread served alongside.
Throughout we drank a Sicilian white wine made from the grillo (cricket!) grape. Very pleasant and a good complement to the fish dishes
Our final savoury dish was a plate of crayfish, nicely cleaned and presented so you could eat the fleshy part with a knife and fork rather than fingers. Again, beautifully fresh, simple fish.
We ordered a couple of desserts from the menu – Sfogliatella Frolla – which is a kind of ricotta cream filled pastry
and Pastiera – a ricotta and cooked wheat filled tart
I have to admit to really enjoying both – my sweet tooth coming out! They are apparently brought over from Naples and did have an artisan quality to them. Coffee too was excellent. Even though I upset every Italian in the house by asking for cold milk with mine.
Service started off exceptionally well, but, as the restaurant got busy throughout the evening, declined somewhat. And, it’s clear that the ultra fresh fish dishes are costly to import and so rather expensive (though coffee, dessert and wines are quite reasonable)
Overall, if you are craving Mediterranean style fish, this would be a good place to start. It’s lively and fun and there’s a real buzz. But, for me it was just that little bit too achingly trendy at the cost of comfort to be somewhere I’d want to visit regularly. Unless I lived in the area, in which case I’d go for coffee and cake.