Friday, November 27, 2009

Sunday Lunch at Fish and Grill, South Croydon

Malcolm John is building up quite an empire. Focusing on local, neighbourhood restaurants, he now has three under his belt, all with high acclaim. Le Vacherin in Chiswick has had high praise and has earned itself a coveted Michelin star, whereas Le Cassoulet located in South Croydon has endeared itself to the locals (and me on a previous visit), having previously won the Time Out best local restaurant award as well as a bib gourmand.

The Approach

So I wonder how Fish and Grill could get it so wrong. The third and newest Malcolm John restaurant, also located in South Croydon, specialises (unsurprisingly) in a variety of fish and grilled meats. I was there for Sunday Roast, a mere £15.95 for 3 courses, on paper very good value indeed.

Smoked Salmon and horseradish cream

And you know what, it all started quite well (if you ignore the grumpy waitress who semi-served us). The smoked salmon starter was actually quite appetising, high praise coming from a recent smoked salmon convert, and I felt that the accompanying horseradish cream was well balanced and a good accompaniment. Even the wine, a bottle of the house white, was tasty, slightly sweet and most importantly, was going down a treat.

Roast Beef and all the trimmings

But that's as far as it goes. The main course of roast beef, Yorkshire puddings and veg was curious to say the least. The ample slices of beef appeared to be a strange shade of pink, and upon incision revealed itself to be an overcooked waste of cow. It had the texture of a piece of meat which had been sitting under a hot light for a good few hours, pleading to be served. And don't get me started on the abomination that they called a "Yorkshire Pudding". It was heavy, stale and had a much closer resemblance to a muffin than a "pudding".

I can't go over the top on this one. One of us ordered off the main menu and received the worlds largest battered haddock, although the "chips en papillote" was an interesting concept (chips wrapped in a paper basket, basically). And looking around, the seafood platter looked highly appetising, as did various large hunks of fish.

Apple Crumble

So, all is not lost. I had a bad experience and hope it was a one off. I had hoped that the apple crumble would cheer me up but I had lost my appetite by then and finding large amounts of apple skin made me abandon it. Even a perfectly adequate custard couldn't lift my spirits.

A recent conversation amongst other food fanatics on Twitter came to the simple conclusion that you just can't beat a home roasted Sunday lunch. After this meal, never a truer word said.

Fish & Grill (website) - 48-50 South End, Croydon CRO 1DP

Fish & Grill  on Urbanspoon


Su-Lin said...

Um... Le Vacherin doesn't have a star, unless one was awarded recently?! The restaurant in Chiswick with one is La Trompette.

Hollow Legs said...

I think you were being too kind. Let's not forget that we were served sandwich bread and butter, and we were there for 3.5 hours (as enjoyable as they were) because our waitress neglected us and left really rather thirsty - they could have made a mint from us!

Unknown said...

Although the smoked salmon starter looks good - lets face it what do they have to do to make smoked salmon - nothing at all - they just buy it. Sounds like one to avoid!

tehbus said...

Su Lin - I believe you are right, it says Michelin reccommended on their site and not starred.

Lizzie and Ms GC - I think I was probably too nice. It was a horrible meal redeemed by good company. A shame as Le Cassoulet was brilliant. One to avoid.

An American in London said...

£16 for three courses might be cheap, but it doesn't sound like it was "good value" based on your meal.

Anonymous said...

Has been the same Sunday lunch menu for ages.

Anonymous said...

Malcom John is not ready to answer his customers' complaint. Not sure he believes his restaurants can get better and that his chefs can sometimes get it wrong. I ve written about our poor experience on New years Eve. The answer from a PA was very poor.What a shame... I am now hoping Mr John will step in.
PS: I ve been a customer for more than 3 years.