Friday, 2 November 2012

Lunch at Sweetings

Founded in 1889, Sweetings has been serving up its signature fare of un-fussy fish and school dinner-esque puddings to generations of bankers. Despite working in the City for more than two years now, I'd never been, so I decided to go with a couple of my colleagues for lunch one day to try it out.

With no reservation system and a limited number of tables, we'd heard that it can be hard to get a seat, so we arrived fairly early, just after noon. However, while it did fill up, there were still a few empty spots when we left over an hour later, so don't let fears of queues put you off if you're planning on eating a little later.

The menu offers a good variety of fish*, ranging from commonplace haddock and salmon to more 'exotic' options like skate, all of which can be ordered grilled, poached or fried in batter according to personal preference (the waiters are happy to give recommendations for the best way to order each particular fish). It's quite pricey - halibut, brill, tubot and sole all top £25 - but there are a few more affordable options (fish pie, salmon cake, haddock) if your wallet doesn't stretch quite that far.

I ended up going for plaice fillets (grilled) with a side order of peas, while my companions opted for fried haddock with chips (x2) and the swordfish with tomato salsa. My plaice was perfectly cooked - golden and crispy on the outside and succulent within - and the haddock and swordfish also went down well. Despite this, the meal was still probably a bit (OK, very) expensive for what we actually got - given the simplicity of the preparation and the lack of fancy extras, £20 a head seems a lot for a one-course lunch. Then again, Sweetings does have a great sense of history, and you're paying for the 'old-boy' feel as much as anything else. All in all, I'd say it was worth it for a one-off experience, but probably won't be going back any time soon.

*Although little variety elsewhere: if one of your party doesn't eat fish or seafood, they'll have to stick with side orders of potatoes and peas.

Sweetings on UrbanspoonSquare Meal