They’ve been serving up fish and chips at 205 Upper Street for over 50 years, and the new owners (Fork and Blade, the team behind Firedog in Fitzrovia) have no plans to change that. But they do have some fairly big ideas around how they can reduce the harmful impact of irresponsible fishing. Namely, by championing sustainable fish – making waves for the lesser-known stars of the sea, if you will. First impressions are promising. The look is chic industrial: smooth concrete and contrasting textured bricks. It’s not cold, though. Glowing lanterns make the space feel cosy and an open kitchen lends an informal atmosphere. Just right for a laid-back catch-up with friends. Executive chef George Notley’s menu focuses on often-disregarded fish, such as cuttlefish, coley and sprat, caught fresh on the day. There are no freezers here, which means that once it’s gone, it’s gone (and that the restaurant is shut on Mondays since it’s a traditional day off for trawlermen). But you can guarantee that everything is super fresh. For starters, charred asparagus, sprinkled with crispy fish skin salt; and air-dried octopus, beautifully presented on a bed of green tomatoes and chilli. Both are delicious and we wash them down with glasses of Picpoul de Pinet, a lively complement to fish dishes. Having never tasted Hake, I opt for that from the main menu and am delighted with my choice. Perfectly pan roasted, with a crispy skin, it comes accompanied by tiny, delicate wild mushrooms, cauliflower and puy lentils – a dish packed full of flavour and texture. My friend tucks into chargrilled gurnard, served with salsify, sprouting broccoli, sorrel and salted anchovies, and is equally pleased with her choice. For dessert, buttermilk panna cotta and poached rhubarb, which is simply superb. Forget trash, we think this place is a treasure – go try it for yourself. There are no catches!
205 Upper Street, N1 (020 3637 7619; trawler-trash.com)