Reviews

Restaurant Review: Sexy Fish

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All photos are NHYM apart from this one, generously borrowed from the restaurant’s website. NHYM 2016.

Sexy Fish

Berkely Square

London W1J 6BR

0203 764 2000

http://www.sexyfish.com

Design: 4.5 stars

Food: 3 stars

Service: 3.5 stars

Atmosphere: 4 stars

Overall: 3.75 stars 

‘I have never seen a restaurant whose ethos is so clearly and comprehensively, so preeningly and unapologetically: ‘Fuck you, I’m rich and I want a golden cave and servants. I want a pony and all the hookers I can strangle. I want a pyramid of cocaine and an Audi -Quattro.’ It is like being punched in the face by Abu Dhabi.’

– quoted from the Spectator Review 28/11/15 http://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/11/sexy-fish-not-so-much-a-restaurant-as-a-museum-of-londons-rich/

After reading a review like that, well, you’ve just got to see it with your own eyes. Sexy Fish opened last year as one of the hottest new restaurants in town, trying to steal the celebrity limelight away from Chiltern Firehouse, and has seen everything from Popstars (Cheryl ex-Cole, ex-Versini), Models (Kate Moss at the opening), Rock Royalty (the Jaggers were there 2 days ago for Georgia May’s 24th), to a private party full of politicians including dear old David (Cameron). Rita Ora sang at its opening party and VIP keys were handed out in advance. All ingredients to make it the latest trendsetter in the restaurant world.

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Bronze cast Damien Hirst statue on the bar. NHYM 2016.

It is the latest venture by Richard Caring (RC for this post) and his ever expanding restaurant-empire-cum-restaurant-chain. He is trying to take over the Mayfair restaurant scene and he is certainly making a statement. Firstly, we’ve got to address that oxymoronic name: Sexy Fish. A fish will never be sexy, but RC manages to make his restaurant pretty sexy-slutty: sexy bronze mermaids by Damien Hirst at the bar, climbing crocodiles by Frank Gehry, a parterre of onyx from Iran, and an actual waterfall behind his bar. Ok, completely over-the-top ostentatious, but you’ve got to love it. Downstairs in the private room are two glowing aquariums with multitudes of glow-in-the-dark fish ready for an after-party.

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Main dining room NHYM 2016. 

The Design

The dining room is art-deco, brasserie style with a large crocodile on the back wall designed by Frank Gehry, whom you will recall did the fish sculpture next to The Hotel Arts in Barcelona. It is quite a large room where you can scan your neighbours easily, with Matisse-inspired patterns on the ceilings in burgundy and gold.

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The very friendly bartender. NHYM 2016.

But the bar is by far my favourite part of the restaurant. It is large, sexy and is framed by overhanging white delicately sculpted fish above and blue mermaids on either side and yes, there is a waterfall in the back. When we arrive at the touristy hour (i.e. anytime before 8pm), there isn’t much atmosphere and it is largely catering tourists. But by the time we leave, the bar is buzzing, the vibe is cool, and the DJ has started spinning. This is really the time to show up.

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The Menu. NHYM 2016.

The Menu & the Food

The menu reads like many of the Asian-fusion/Japanese restaurants that first emerged in the 90’s starting with Nobu and still keep coming (Kurobuta). There is nothing creatively new on this menu, it follows a tried-and-tested formula of Nobu-Zuma-Roka-Novikov dishes. We order a bunch of sharing plates including the yellowtail sashimi, the Sexy Fish roll, tuna tartare, maple glazed pork belly skewers, duck salad and the famous Miso Glazed Chilean Seabass.

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Miso Seabass and Maple-Glazed pork belly. NHYM 2016. 

The food is unfortunately a let-down. It all looks beautiful, sounds beautiful and should be beautiful, but sadly, there is something missing. It isn’t bad, but falls flat compared to the other restaurants I have aforementioned. Usually, when you go to Nobu/Zuma/Roka, you are enlivened by the tastes and combination of flavours, but not even the famed Miso Seabass could do that for me. The only standout dish for me was the maple glazed pork belly skewer which melted in your mouth and was perfectly sweet and salty. The rest was ‘good’ but unfortunately quite forgettable.

The service gets some low marks just because we were ‘evicted’ before we could order the molten chocolate cake which we wanted to try. Next time.

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Sexy Fish Kitchen. NHYM 2016.

The Verdict

We managed to spend 4 hours at Sexy Fish, which meant that something worked. Sexy Fish combines the right ‘menu,’ the right location, the right brasserie-style design and the right amount of slebs to make it a success. The food isn’t what you’re after here, the main attraction is the bar and of course the people-watching. It’s a fun, lively spot that starts to get going around 10pm, and if I were to go again, I’d probably skip the food and head straight to the bar for a martini while I ogle all the hedge-funders and their mistresses for entertainment purposes. After all, it’s cheaper than flying all the way to Dubai.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Sexy Fish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Reviews

Hotel Review: Hotel Arts, Barcelona

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All Photos in this Post courtesy of NHYM Copyright 2015.

Hotel Arts

Marina 19-21

Barcelona, Spain 08005

34 93 22 11 000

http://www.hotelartsbarcelona.com/en

Design & Architecture: 5 stars

Service: 5 stars

Food: 4.5 stars

Rooms: 4.5 stars

Value/Price: 4.5 stars

Overall 4.5 stars

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Ground floor entrance. NHYM 2015

Barcelona!

It had been almost twenty years since I was last in Barcelona (gasp! How old does that make me??) and all I remember is a blurry haze of alcohol-imbibed dancing in some shopping mall club whilst on a backpacking excursion throughout Europe fending off pickpockets, cockroaches and leches. Fast forward twenty years and a whole family in tow, traveling has a very different image: where can you go that is family-friendly and has some kind of culture where both kids and parents will be happy. Cue in Barcelona. It is architecturally one of the greatest cities where walking around is like visiting a museum but where you can stop to have ice-cream while admiring the great Gaudi masterpieces. So off we went to Barcelona this half term with two kids and checked into the Hotel Arts, one of the iconic hotel greats.

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High Tech Architecture. NHYM 2015

Design & Architecture

The Hotel Arts was built in 1994 and is an example of High Tech Architecture. It is 154 meters tall and has 483 rooms, so in all terms and purposes is a very big city hotel. Unlike some gigantic hotels, Fontainebleau in Miami comes to mind, it is tasteful and sophisticated. The Frank Gehry public sculpture shaped like a fish called Peix is situated right next to it and was built for the 1992 Olympic Games. It is one of the most famous pieces of public contemporary art.

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Champagne at arrival. NHYM 2015

The Service

One of the things I appreciate in 5 star luxury hotels are the incidental perks or freebees that make the experience so enjoyable. At the Hotel Arts, you are welcomed with a champagne glass at the lobby, a clever way to make people think that they are finally on holiday, or that it is time to finally relax. In the lobby, Laurent Perrier bubbly is at hand for the adults and red and green sweeties for the kids.

The service at the Hotel Arts is really top notch. The staff is nice, courteous, young and energetic. They have had the best hotel management training in Lausanne or Montreux. This is the kind of service that you get in Asia, which is considered the best in the world. It makes a difference, compared to that grumpy old man in France/Italy who fobs you off to your room as if he had something else better to do. There are family friendly staff that come up to the children regularly, trying to engage them to make them comfortable in new surroundings.

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View from our Room. NHYM 2015.

The Rooms

We had two interconnecting rooms on the 15th floor and they had a great view of the water and the next door harbour, pictured above. The rooms were really rather large when you consider most hotel rooms in big cities: think the Mercer/Tribeca New York that has tiny rooms which are at least double or triple the price of this room. The beds were as good as you can expect from any 5 star hotel and the bathrooms were very nice, although the sinks were showing some wear with rusting around the plug hole.

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Overall, we were very pleased with our room.

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Ice Cream Trolley by the pool. NHYM 2015

Child-Friendly

Of course, these days, I am more interested in how child-friendly a place is rather than where the table-dancing goes on. The Hotel Arts won some big points for how child-friendly it was. I mean, who doesn’t like the unlimited, free ice-cream trolley by the pool side? The kids were in heaven. Although there wasn’t a kids club, there was a small child area at the breakfast restaurant where the kids played a whole morning (it is for very young children and it is tiny so don’t have high expectations, but my kids loved it). There is also a large pool, although it was unheated so they opted instead for the jacuzzi in the below gardens. They also had a Halloween treasure hunt, with spider lollies as prizes. What else could a child ask for?

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Gardens and Terraces. NHYM 2015. 

Overall 

This was a great hotel and a great base to visit Barcelona, with its seafront full of cool restaurants below it. Some people have gripes, including the food at the tapas restaurant but we didn’t have a chance to eat there, we were too busy trying out various other restos. The breakfast buffet was great, which to me is imperative for a stellar hotel. The other complaint is that it does show some signs of wear although it was renovated in 2006, but with its amazing service, it is easy to overlook that. Finally, they charge €25 for internet per day, but we were exempt with the deal we got. Speaking of deals, since we came end of October and got a deal, the rates were incredibly reasonable. Comparing that to a hotel I went to recently in Washington DC which charged $700 a night and the room looked like a 3 star motel room, this seemed like a bargain.

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Frank Gehry Fish. NHYM 2015. 

We loved this hotel and were even more surprised by how great it was with kids. Highly recommended and to put on your to do list when in Barcelona.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Chill out Area. NHYM 2015. 

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