When it comes to great food you need great ingredients. Restaurants wax lyrical about the provenance of their beef – rare breeds, lovingly raised and hugged to death before being aged in Himalayan salt caves by Benedictine monks. But how much attention do they pay to the fish? In contrast to the pre-historic beef it needs to be incredibly fresh and sustainably sourced. That means you need a fishmonger – when Hawksmoor opened their Air Street restaurant they turned to the best in the business – Mitch Tonks.
Mitch works with fisherman from Brixham and serves their produce at a range of restaurants, including Rockfish Grill in Bristol. In the delightfully upmarket Clifton area it’s a smart neighbourhood restaurant with a wonderfully fishy edge. The menu changes daily and their wine list is designed to match and very reasonably priced to boot. In the kitchen the eminently trendy charcoal Josper oven takes pride of place – searing the fish at incredible temperatures while keeping the middle wonderfully moist.
To start I had some lovely queenie scallops, simply grilled with a garlic and breadcrumb topping. Tender, juicy and very moreish.
The main course was a huge piece of monkfish, fresh from the charcoal oven. Served with a simple salad it was beautifully seasoned and perfectly cooked. I can’t remember the last time I had fish this good. Excellent chips and some very nice samphire provided the perfect sides.
Dessert was an easy choice – Cointreau doughnuts with a hot chocolate sauce. The doughnuts were freshly fried and full of raisins and pine-nuts, the hot chocolate sauce nicely balanced with a subtle alcoholic kick.
All washed down with a carafe of Albarino it was a wonderful evening. With ingredients this simple there’s nowhere to hide, and with fish this good it’s a crime to mess it up. Rockfish served a pretty faultless meal and I can’t wait to go again.