If you took the standard modern restaurant, then took it apart and reassembled it, using only essential parts, you would wind up with Fish Shop.
There is nothing here, in the room, on the menu, the wine list, that doesn’t need to be here.
The single bottle of red wine on the list – a Cabernet Franc from Chinon: perfect! The tiny menu with its range of fish and shellfish dishes: perfect! The unadorned tables and chairs: perfect! The classic reggae music on the stereo; perfect! The brick-bare walls, and the counter and stools at the window: perfect! The cute-as-all-get-out sign at the front: perfect! The location in seedy and magnificent Queen Street on Dublin 7: perfect!
All that is missing is a photographer from T Magazine.
Fish Shop is on fleek, as they say. It’s one of the significant recalibrations of the modern Irish restaurant scene, joining other shape-shifters like Forest Avenue, Loam, Bastible, and Miyazaki. These places all offer top-notch cooking in simple, surprising settings, orchestrated by a team who design their working methods so that they can play at their best.
For Fish Shop, that best is fresh fish, which is why that megrim on your plate tastes so good – sweet; toothy; succulent and, above all, satisfying. Their signature fish finger sandwich hits the PLAY button: crispy, squishy, creamy, crunchy, every bite a new, tactile zinger.
And tactility is what a starter of deep-fried oysters with salsa is all about, especially when paired with a glass of Aligoté, the rasping acidity of the white wine balanced by the creamynesss of the shellfish.
Fish Shop make what they do look easy – another characteristic of these sprezzatura new Irish restaurants. But, of course, it’s not easy to be this specific, this fussy, this assured, this dedicated. All we need, and no more, is what Peter and Jumoke give us in Fish Shop.