Review: Fish + Liquor, Brighton

In all of my years in Brighton there’s never been reason to go down Madeira Drive in the quest for food. Last week, I did, so can categorically say, there is definitely no reason to go down Madeira Drive in the quest for food.

When a Twitter account* with the name Fish+Liquor appeared, there were more than a lot of raised eyebrows at the choice of branding. At first many people just thought it was a spoof account and didn’t take it seriously, but then photos of a supposed refit started to surface, more and more people started to sit up and take notice, and not in a good way either.

They’ve been challenged via their Twitter account on countless occasions by people about the unashamed parallels of their name with that of national (soon to be international) restaurant chain, MEATliquor. I shan’t dwell on this point too long, as I’ve already said it to the owner himself on Twitter, but I think it’s embarrassing. Attempting to profiteer from someone else’s successful business model is outrageous and definitely not the best way to try and make a name for yourself in somewhere as small as Brighton.

Politics aside though, sadly, they will absolutely rake it in over the summer, from tourists who are giddy on being ‘beside the seaside’ and are eating with their noses rather than with quality in mind. I’ll be interested to see how it fares next winter though.

*I’m not linking to their website but I will to their Twitter because it is LOLs.

This was the only cocktail menu, it wasn’t printed anywhere that we could see, we had four unsuccessful attempts at catching the waitress’ eye so ended up traipsing outside to make our ‘liquor’ decision. As you can see, we were spoilt for choice…

AS IF that was £6.50

If I hadn’t been dying of a hangover and in desperate need of a full on Bloody Mary with all the trimmings, what I actually got served would almost have been funny.  No ice, no garnish, no celery salt and no Lea & Perrins. They didn’t even have any Tabasco in, on a Good Friday.

My friend had the incorrectly spelt Passion fruit Daiquiri which had nearly as little to recommend it as my drink. Pretty laughable when they claim that the ‘liquor’ part of their namesake is down entirely to the booze they sell.

‘Mad Patty’- £6.95

A burger, in a pan, on a twatplank. Oh my. It’s abominations like this that have seen Twitter accounts such as @wewantplates springing up with 30k+ following of people united in their loathing and disbelief of this seemingly never-ending trend.

Aside from it’s offensive presentation, it was just dreadful. The meat tasted cheap, soft, mushy and only just warm within, yet chargrilled and completely dried out on its exterior.  Even the melted cheese looks wholly unappealing. No gherkins, no sauce and no love whatsoever.

For me it was a toss-up between which was more loathsome, the crappy name for the burger, or the way in which it was served. I almost feel sorry for the person who thought they’d absolutely nailed it with quirk and originality, how thigh-slappingly pleased they must have been with themselves, bless them.

Large Cod & Chips- £8.95

Soooo, the main event, the other half of the venue’s namesake, so one might be forgiven for hoping it was going to do slightly better than the liquor had done.. it did, but then it would have been quite a remarkable achievement for them to have served anything else as desperately awful as our cocktails were.

The battered cod was exactly that, edible, but certainly nothing to rave about. Give me Wolfies any day.  The chips were bog standard but alright. I see what they tried to do there with the lemon, but… The mushy peas (£1.50) were luke warm and for some bizarre reason known only to the chef and/or management, came in a latte glass. Really, really odd.

The best bit of all of it was the tartare sauce, which the owner himself assured me (on Twitter) that this is made on the premises. In fact, the owner in general is quite chirpy on Twitter…

They can’t spell discretion, oh the irony…

Despite having undergone an extensive refit the interior is tacky and already looks a bit sorry for itself and shabby around the edges.. definitely preferable to eating beside a bass bin at The Volks, that’s not really a huge mark in its favour though. But as I said earlier, it really doesn’t matter, that place will have a licence to print money during the spring and summer seasons.

 

If ever there was an open and shut case of somewhere living down to my expectations, well, this is it. It doesn’t matter to them, they’ll rake in pots of cash from hoards of day-trippers and tourists, it doesn’t matter to me either, plenty more fish in the sea (ho ho ho).

Have you been to Fish+Liquor? What are your thoughts? Please do comment below or message me on any of my social networks, I’d love to hear what you think.

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13 Comments

    • April 10, 2015 / 3:57 pm

      really pleased you enjoyed, Elle! Have a fab weekend and thanks for commenting xx

  1. Anonymous
    April 10, 2015 / 1:40 pm

    We went a month or two ago and enjoyed the menu which was fun and the food generally was good.The fish in a brioche bun was tasty and we enjoyed the chips with spicy bol and cheese and the spicy wings. We didnt have cocktails so cannot comment on this but there was a great beer and ale selection on tap! which was very good for my hangover:) I think you are being a little snobby about the decor which generally had a lot of effort put into it and good for a chippy trying to do something different. The main items are chip shop food but with nice extras such as homemade slaw. price was good value and our only complaint was that the service was slow but they had just opened and they gave us the wings and the chips on the house for the wait!

    • April 10, 2015 / 3:48 pm

      I'm really glad you enjoyed yourself when you visited, I'd hate to think of someone else having as disappointing a time as I did. Re me being 'snobby' about that interior…you are untitled to your opinion, just as I am mine. I never said that a 'lot of effort' hadn't gone into it, but it was still looking very shabby for somewhere so new. If I was ever going to go back I would be interested to see what it looks like after, what will no doubt be, a RAMMO summer for them.

      Thanks for reading, and for commenting, anon 🙂

  2. Anonymous
    April 10, 2015 / 2:48 pm

    wow you really do like to have a dig at places don't you.

    • April 10, 2015 / 3:37 pm

      Only the ones that deserve it, anon, you little pickle being all mysterious and brave behind your keyboard!

      Have a GREAT weekend <3 <3 <3

  3. April 10, 2015 / 5:05 pm

    Hi
    I ate at fish+liquor and had great food great service and i'm fully supportive of a new independent business in brighton, seems like you have an agenda as the name seems fine to me. Im sure they can live without people like you and you should be on commission or at least 'good friends' with the owners of meatliquor given your obvious bias.
    Good luck fish+liquor…don't let one bias 'blogger' affect your good intentions

    • Sarah Gravell
      April 11, 2015 / 2:12 am

      Agenda? There is only one person with an agenda here – 'Paul Butler'. What makes this hilarious is that the more you and the 'anon' brigade try and claim this place is half decent the more it in forces the fact to the rest of the world that this place is in fact shit. As if the review didn't say it all – the name of the restaurant killed itself – to anyone who knows anything about the current food scene anyway. Yes we all like an independent business just like you, and want them to be great. But do we like an independent biz that's trying to cash in on someone else's success? No. I'm not a particular fan of MeatLiquor – I'm not mates with them or on the payroll – but I like their style. I wouldn't give my custom to any business who are shamelessly ripping of someone else and showing zero originality. The term I believe is #copycunt. But in any case I don't think this place has a hope of being confused with MeatLiquor. It's busy making its mark with cold mushy peas served in a latte glass. Nice.

    • April 11, 2015 / 7:41 am

      Oh 'Paul', how silly of me, of course fish+liquor and MEATliquor, don't sound as though they may be connected AT ALL (totally does). I am indeed a fan of MEATliquor, and yes, I do know some of the staff and have never made any secret of it, I wasn't aware it was some sort of taboo and it certainly doesn't make me biased. Thanks ever so much for pointing out the error of my ways though, I'm sure Fish+Liquor will be thrilled to have such an advocate of their ever so original brand.

      Oh and Sarah, you rock xx

  4. April 11, 2015 / 7:29 pm

    Ha ha you pair of passive aggresive cunts…credibility shot…let readers decide
    Thanks

    • April 12, 2015 / 2:30 am

      So you now decide on who and what has credibility?! And as for calling two women cunts, I'm sure your Mother would be very proud.

  5. July 28, 2015 / 1:55 pm

    I am not on any restaurant's payroll, and the first thing I assumed is that MEATliquor had become so successful they were tackling a new style, but no, it's a cash in…or rather an attempted one.
    All I have read about this place (and yes, I do now like to read a bit before I visit as Brighton has the luxury of choice now, so why not?!) puts me off completely. Pan and plank muppetry. Peas in a latte glass. Overpriced and not home made. Enough for me to say "no ta".
    And as for Mr Butler above, well, assume you are the one with the vested interest in the business to be so aggresive, otherwise, why read this blog at all. I read a lot of praise from Rosie, and usually it's deserved…which always makes me think the critical elements are just as valid! She isn't on a payroll, yes she gets freebies, but that's down to reputaion and credibility…and the key thing…passion. THAT'S why I read this blog, and THAT'S why I visit places she recommends.
    Keep it up Miss P&P x

  6. October 22, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    its a great place serving great food. You come across as a spoilt little princess who is rather bitter that she has to self-publish and doesn't write for the observer.

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