Food: 7 Drink: 7 Atmosphere: 6 Overall: 6.5
An established favourite of old-school Clifton villagers, Fishers is a comfortable and friendly home away from home. A restaurant famous for its fish and chips, it’s not breaking huge boundaries, but don’t let that deter you from enjoying an evening out. With hot competition between The Giggling Squid, The Clifton Sausage, and Bosco Pizzeria, there’s little wiggle room for a quaint eatery, but Fishers are still doing what they’ve always done, well. Delivering tasty plates, for great value, in a charming setting.
What makes Fishers stand out from a successful neighbouring crowd, is certainly their value for money. Wriggle-users will be familiar with their ‘Early-catch’ supper offer, which is an –almost incomprehensible- 2 course meal AND a glass of wine, for a very reasonable £10. During the week there are similarly outstanding deals to snap up, another being their ‘Dine after 9 for £9’ slogan (available Sunday-Thursday), which aims to minimise food waste by selling off even their most expensive dishes for a fraction of the price tag. Even better – students can enjoy this deal every single Monday, no matter the hour.
Fishers is there for a perfect weekday treat. If you’re not looking to splash out, but want to catch a bargain (the puns have only just begun), this restaurant scores on many fronts. Having been welcomed in by our lovely waiter Niall, we were seated in the perfect people-watching position in the window. Ordering a couple of gigantic glasses of wine, this cosy nook was a perfect port in a storm (okay I’ll stop) on a Friday night in the village. Whilst a G&T is a pretty standard £6.75, a goblet of white was a wiser choice for fish – and both the French Viognier and Vermentino went down (far too) well. I will always find the prospect of charging for bread and butter slightly jarring at any decent restaurant, so it’s a good thing that Fishers’ portion sizes more than make up for it. My advice: skip the nibbles and make the most of a three-courser that will get you hook, line, and sinker (last one I promise).
Sitting pretty in our window seat, we enjoyed two perfectly tasty starters that set the tone for the rest of a meal of classics. Battered tiger prawns accompanied by a (granted, homemade) sweet chilli sauce were crunchy and sweet, but just not the best I’ve enjoyed. The smoked mackerel paté however, was one of the highlights of the meal – with the right squeeze of lemon and perfect grind of pepper, it’s pretty difficult to miss the mackerel mark but nonetheless, kudos to the chef for its execution. With three options on the set menu (three courses at £13.95), headed up by the famous fish & chips, we went off-piste and opted for the Scottish salmon fishcake and Fishers Kedgeree. The former – flaky, toasted on the outside, and accompanied by some decent chips. The latter – a giant portion topped with a properly poached egg. Sides of rocket salad with plentiful grated parmesan (£3.95) and a twee bowl of samphire (£4.50) doused in butter made equally good accompaniments. No complaints and no nonsense... nor would they have us wiping away a William Sitwell-style tear. Humble cooking that hits the spot.
Having snooped on passersby and finally sunk the last dregs of our glasses, the third course was upon us. Having renounced chocolate temptations for Lent, we were delighted to hear that between a lemon posset, a selection of cheeses, and summer berries with sorbet – they were sure we’d be safe. Along with the paté, I have to say that the posset’s shortbread partner was the second star of the show. Buttery, flaky and crisp round the edges – a biscuit that Mrs Berry herself would have taken pride in I’m sure. Having made numerous remarks akin to “oh we couldn’t possibly” and “but those PORTIONS, Niall!”, we had happily scooped and scraped around that little jar of lemony goodness quicker than Niall could say “crab cake”. The summer berries in contrast, lacked a bit of flare. Topped with a boule of (supposedly) Pimms sorbet, we’ll let them off and say that it’s not quite the season for it.
Fishers is a charming place to while away an evening and make the most of the deals on offer, particularly for students. If you fancy an evening out - and something a bit more special than a White Rabbit pizza - a favourite with locals, it’s a sweet restaurant that will look after you well.