The Sea, The Sea is repeating itself.
The vaunted restaurant-slash-fishmonger in Chelsea has opened a second venue in Hackney, right next to Regent’s Canal. And it’s quite a unique space.
It’s housed in a huge railway arch, much like Berber & Q next door, only bigger. And all that space is used first and foremost as a giant fishmongers (that serves up swimmers to top restaurants) and a product development lab, with a chef’s table-style restaurant to pour all those ideas into. Should you fancy a visit, here’s how your evening will proceed:
As you enter, you’ll pass down a long, sleek, corridor whose walls are lined with backlit tanks filled with live fish & crustaceans. There’s a faint green glow above you, further evoking the ocean. Mood set, you’ll arrive at the polished countertop, and take a seat in one of the twelve comfortable, bright orange chairs surrounding it.
What follows is a 12 course, omakase-style flurry of invention: dry aged turbot dressed in four types of vinegar, with hot dog pods (they’re an extra sweet type of pea) and honeycomb tomatoes; cured horse mackerel with pine nut sauce; and a langoustine ‘Wedding Cake’, a dish that was apparently a year in development, and which involves smoked langoustines in a Portuguese style egg ‘cake’.
Having already established relationships with day boat fishermen down in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, they’re buying fish direct from the boats, then hoisting them into their own vans to drive up to Hackney each day. Then, they’re scrubbed, scaled, filleted, de-boned, and variously prepped to be either sent to another lucky restaurant, or straight to the counter. There’s tanks of shellfish, crates of seaweed, and whatever the suitable container is for gooseneck barnacles & their cousins, like a briny, wet Willy Wonka.
And as for the more experimental parts? Well, for one they’re dehydrating and dry-ageing a lot of their fish, much like a steak. They’ve been practicing the art at their Chelsea venue, and they aim to perfect it here. All in all, the idea is – according to founder Alex Hunter – to make the place something between an “art installation, restaurant, laboratory and factory”.
It’s sure to make some waves.
NOTE: The Sea, The Sea, Hackney is open for a chef’s table dining experience Wednesday-Saturday. You can find out more, and book, at their website right HERE.
The Sea, The Sea, Hackney | 337 Acton Mews, E8 4EA
Looking for some meat? Check out Berber & Q around the corner.