Review: Fish & Bubbles

Review: Fish & Bubbles

Notting Hill newcomer serving up seafood and Italian harbour vibes

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Nestled into a quaint street of Notting Hill sits the newly-opened Fish & Bubbles. An aptly named seafood restaurant serving a drinks menu specialising in prosecco and Negronis, they have carved out a niche of serving a selection of fish tapas and Italian seafood sandwiches.

The interior is a cosy, wood-panelled celebration of all things seafood: from the artwork and photography of Italian harbour life that dots the walls, to the whimsical netting surrounding the ceiling lights. One wall sports a line of shelves dedicated to seaside-themed plates.

The restaurant is deceptively large, almost TARDIS-like. My guest and I were convinced for three quarters of our meal that the pleasant, intimate room we were dining in was the entire restaurant, until a trip to the loo revealed a wholly separate bar and dining area, along with another floor.

The menu offers an eclectic variety: a multitude of fish tapas, from catch-of-the-day fish balls to swordfish in sweet and sour vegetables. There is the option of a ‘tagliere di mare’ – a sharing board serving a selection of tapas, some which aren’t found on the tapas menu. Or there’s a ‘fritto misto al metro’ – a one metre sharing board of fried fish dishes.

The biggest draw, however, is the panini: large and unique seafood sandwiches made with Italian buns. There is an ocean’s worth of fillings: tuna, prawns, cod, salmon, squid, swordfish.

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We shared a ‘tagliere di mare’ board, comprised of a mixture from the tapas menu and day specials. A delightful and varied selection of dishes greeted us; highlights include the swordfish in sweet and sour vegetables (the swordfish cut into bite-sized chunks and cooked to a silky texture) and the Mediterranean-herbs-infused anchovies, deliciously sharp-flavoured and coated in a delicate vinaigrette that paired wonderfully paired with the light, fluffy bread we were provided. Eaten altogether, the sharing board can easily be a full meal between two, with enough variations in flavours and pairing to satisfy and satiate. But we still had panini incoming…

The panini arrived: great towers of thick Italian rosetta buns and generous fillings. We shared two: the ‘Tuna Turner’ with cacio e pepe & basil cream, tuna tartare, courgettes, roasted tomatoes, stracciatella and rocket, and the ‘Fish and Bubbles’ with caramelised red onions, cod in prosecco batter, aubergine, buffalo mozzarella and cherry tomatoes. Both stood out in their own ways: the ‘Tuna Turner’ was creamier and subtler, with the bright tang of tuna tartare cutting through to counterbalance the softer taste of the cacio e pepe and stracciatella. The ‘Fish & Bubbles’ combined the best elements of your classic, pleasing battered cod with the elevated flavours of caramelised onions and perfectly roasted aubergine.

It is, of course, a lot of fish to eat. If you’re a casual seafood-eater but tend to shy away from the stronger, more divisive flavours, I would advise against the sharing boards – which can bring surprises – and to the panini from which you can choose your preferred fish. For the more adventurous, the sharing boards are a good option.

The restaurant has a relaxed yet elegant appeal, narrow and winding, like it wouldn’t be out of place on the cobbled street of an Italian port village. The service are knowledgeable and friendly.You can enjoy the front area for cosy, Italian village vibes, or head into the deeper parts of the restaurant for a more buzzy, bar-like experience.