Fish is for taking a picture with and throwing back: The gammon food critic visits a seafood restaurant

Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who reckons the BBC knew about Savile the whole time, but Thatcher and the Queen didn’t

THE sea’s full of weird shit. That doesn’t mean you have to eat it, and somebody should tell the Spaniards that. 

No, there’s one way to eat fish and that’s deep-fried in lard with a massive pile of chips. And mushy peas. On a Friday night after the pub. People knock British cuisine, but show me the chef who’s come up with anything to beat that.

Still, gastronomes do persist. They’ll serve up prawns like they’re not an oversized aquatic flea. And there’s a new swanky seafood pleace in the centre I’ve blagged a freebie at by neglecting to mention I’m retired.

I breeze past the complementary caviar brushetta – nobody in their right mind eats eggs scooped out of a sturgeon’s fanny – and sit down only to discover this place is so up itself the menu’s in French and doesn’t have pound signs on. If I tried to pay in fucking euros they’d realise the exchange rate bloody quick.

There’s no beer, only overpriced wine with a note saying what wine partners what fish. It’s like Strictly under the sea. Still I’m not paying so I order a bottle that apparently steps out nicely with roe.

Starters? Mussels, oysters, other molluscs that lie on beaches eating raw sewage. Fuck that. ‘Are the scallops in batter?’ I inquire, at which the waiter looks at me like I’m a shit-eating mollusc myself.

I briefly consider the smoked salmon before deciding, as usual, it looks too much like skin grafts, and go for the lobster consomme instead, which seems to be the water a lobster was being boiled in before he got bored and pissed off. For ’13’.

Mains? Catch of the Day, like I’m dumb enough not to know it’s been in the deep freeze for months. Skate with black butter. It’s political correctness gone mad. I opt for the pan-fried sea bass wrapped in pancetta, and it’s passable. For fish.

I get up to leave – a fish restaurant’s idea of the sweet trolley is not something I want to face, it’s probably chocolate-dipped crab claws – and the maitre d’ asks when to expect my review. ‘Bloody soon,’ I tell him, slightly pissed.

‘In fact I’ll get it to the paper tomorrow,’ I continue, which is true. I don’t mention I retired in 2010 and they won’t even publish my letters after a post-Brexit correspondence turned particularly ugly.

Duplicituous and deceiving? Well, he’s the one running a restaurant that only serves fucking fish.

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Six ways to look a prick in… knitwear

WHAT do you get if you cross a sheep and a kangaroo? A misbegotten monstrosity begging to die, and that’s what you’ll look like in this season’s woolly jumpers!


Lighting up your local pop-up bar like Noel Edmonds on the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop? In a sweater so toxically patterned it’s registered as a weapon of psychological warfare? Bearing geometries as mismatched and clashing as Saudia Arabia and Yemen? You’re causing offence at 40 paces!


Cable-knit, from a Scottish isle so remote its own crofters haven’t heard of it yet, sickeningly beige, warmer than a London flat, this look has everything but style. Only the irrepressibly angular can snuggle into this and still have a silhouette, so if you’re not all corners leave it the hell alone!


What’s this on your knit? Not staid patterns, as one would expect, but a mark of cool? The Wu-Tang Clan, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, the Twin Towers aflame? Son, the dissonance between the granny-friendly manufacture of your jumper and its contemporary message has just blown six minds.


Is it a tank top? Is it a sweater vest? Depends on which side of the mid-Atlantic ridge you come down on, but either way you’re wearing one of the most fatuous garments around. Warm body? Cold arms? What possible benefit is there to this? It’s so wildly impractical it’s the height of fashion, especially in drab olive and utility brown!


Only M&S dads wear fresh-off-the-rack. You need your jumper to look comfortable, thrown-on, lived-in, fucked. Either spend a hard day running through hedges until you’ve got those crucial snags or buy Primark and it’ll be unravelling before you leave the tills. Follow the thread and you’re all the way back there!


Your fashion icon? Michael Douglas in a LA club in the early 90s being shut out of restroom stalls by hot blonde bisexuals. Your corresponding choice of knit? The classic green V-neck worn with nothing underneath. Those who know? They’ll know.