Tom dives in to Nautilus
After a few drinks with locals in the splendid glow of the Green Room, two things occurred to me in a flash of uncharacteristic inspiration. First, that I was extremely hungry, and second, that I’d (shamefully) never eaten in Nautilus, Fortune Green’s acclaimed fish restaurant and takeaway. I’d heard interesting things and was rather intrigued by its apparent bare-bones approach to pretty much everything.
The first thing to point out is that Nautilus does not deep-fry their fish in batter; rather, they favour a matzo breadcrumb coating. My thoughts on this to follow, but there were other quirks I discovered which added to the experience.
Service was delivered by two charmingly polite older ladies, and the interior is certainly traditional café or diner style – very casual, very unpretentious. Further bonus points for having tomato sauce in bottles – none of those stupid little mini-bowls which last for only about 3 or 4 dips-worth of chips!
The menu is as simple as one can imagine; you can have a glass of wine – red or white, no further choice. I chose the latter, which was fine, and spent a few moments deciding what to order. I absolutely love salmon, and decided this would be an interesting test of the cooking technique.
Dinner duly arrived, and my first thought was “goodness me, that’s a large portion, even for me!” but I soon discovered that the matzo coating was deliciously and deceptively light, and so crisp, too – an absolute joy in combination with the salmon. Enthusiastically tucking-in, I found the fish to be nicely gauged; not overcooked, still fleshy and supple. Really, a revelation; I felt a little silly for not having previously eaten fish fried in this manner, and honestly I was already thinking about what to have on my next visit.
A side salad of tomato, cucumber and onion included some added olives (always a positive thing), but my portion of chips was the only minus point of the visit (I shall hereby rename them ‘blips’). Previously when I’ve grabbed chips from Nautilus as a post-pub refuel, they’ve been fresh and sizzling hot, whereas these were noticeably flabby and insipid and far from piping hot. A bit of an oversight given the nature of the establishment, so hoping this won’t be the case next time.
In summary, enjoyable. Somewhere fun and relaxing where you can relish the simplicity of very fresh fish cooked in a style Nautilus have really mastered (pending better chips next time).
As I’m always saying, I only choose the best for the captain’s table… All aboard!