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The Cultural Exposé recently headed to Catch – a seafood restaurant that might have an inconspicuous entrance on Liverpool Street, but is a lavishly-styled eatery inside the Andaz Hotel with plenty of references to its speciality and even the mild aqua interior to match. Of course you won’t find dolphins taking your order (imagine that, eh?), but there’s no question that this is a spot that wants you to be fully immersed in enjoying the catch of the day.
Joined by a pescetarian buddy, we worked our way through the compact and mid-priced menu which features what you’d usually expect from a seafood joint; oysters (we’ll get onto those later), fish and chips for the comfort-eaters, a few meat selections for the reluctant and a variety of curious-sounding and experimental dishes, which suggests a chef who understands it never hurts to give seabass and cod a bit of a kick.
For our starters, the bouillabaisse was strong to taste, but well-balanced with fresh tomatoes, while the crab cakes had a thai twist and were livened up by the most subtle of coconut sauces. However, our favourite was the seafood escabache, a refreshingly chilled assortment of crayfish, scallops, octopus, avocado and plum tomatoes, accented with lemon balm.
It was also two-thumbs up for the mains, and where the autumn vegetable pie was the more homely offering, the eclectic ocean fish – with its combination of sea bass, cod, mussels and scallops – was a worthy special with an impeccable risotto.
Then came the oysters. In fairness, you’ve got to be into oysters to judge them and so it was a good thing we went for the oyster experience – a selection that’s partially-cooked and seasoned with your choice of yuzu gelée (a lemon and orange fusion from Japan), chorizo & sherry vinegar, tempura & sweet soy sauce or parmesan & horseradish. The latter flavour was definitely the most distinctive, successfully masking the freshness and texture of such a unique delicacy.
Two brilliant and beautifully presented desserts wrapped up the meal; the classic lemon tart with the delicious mojito foam and a guilty madagascan manjari chocolate & praline cake, with pickled cherries. These were enjoyed with the remarkable Gavi di Gavi Nuovo Quadro – an extremely clean and light white wine, recommended by one of the many wonderful waitresses here.
It was a very memorable feast – aren’t those the best? – and where it’d cost about £120 with drinks for two people, it’s worth it for such great service and a quality effort in offering beautiful seafood in the heart of the city. (Words: Matilda Egere-Cooper)Catch at Andaz Hotel, 40 Liverpool Street Tube: Liverpool Street station Price: (££££)£ Further info: www.andazdining.com