MONKFISH never works in scampi. I point this fat-food-critic fact out to Joe as he shakes his head and tosses a rejected morsel back on his plate. My statement would be uncharacteristically insightful if wasn’t for the following: 1) it was me who ordered the bloody monkfish scampi in the first place and 2) it will be me alone who will continue to eat it.

Even though tough, almost rubbery, little monkfish bullets will squiggle out of every batter ball in a puff of super-heated burny-hot, slippery steam. Hmm, have they accidentally left that dangerously firm monkfish-tail sheath on, I will say out too loud – just as, rather awkwardly, the waiter looms up to check everything is all right.

Yes, I will now lie about this food. It would be rude not to.

Meanwhile Joe returns to the fish tacos – they’re much better, since you ask. “Perhaps monkfish becomes way too chewy for any batter to hold?” I continue to ask myself.

Answers on a postcard to Cafe Fish please who, as you may have already guessed, are not having a great start to this Wednesday evening meal in Glasgow’s languid and upmarket Pollokshields.

READ MORE: A Michelin star lands and I’m here already. Where’s everyone else? 

There was a bit of yuk-yuk-yuk scoffing from moi at seeing the langoustine on the specials menu tonight: £25 for, ahem, three. With spindly, Toy Story-esque claws no doubt included, starey-eyed heads as well, and both undoubtedly adding to the spectacle – though rarely in any way to the eating.

Rich pricing perhaps, in what looks like a firmly middle-market joint. Still, the cost of seafood is not Cafe Fish’s fault and their tacos, containing the fish (haddock) that would have been better in the scampi, at £10.50, are righteously seasoned, juicy and completely eaten.

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Those are crisp batter bombs: light, white meat inside balancing juicy and marinated tomatoes on one flavour side, coriander and zig-zag trails of squirted mayo on t’other. I could actually have had another portion, I say to Joe.

They do a decent crab cake too. Crispy crunchy panko shell, cracking under the fork to reveal smooth oozy filling, which tastes suddenly caramelly, like pudding, and then spiced, peppery, savoury. We both decide we really like them – even at, ahem, £11.50 – though curiously they do not in any way taste of crab. I mean: Not. In. Any. Way. Taste. Of. Crab.


HeraldScotland: Cafe Fish in Glasgow's Nithsdale Road Cafe Fish in Glasgow's Nithsdale Road (Image: Gordon Terris)


Which is probably not surprising given the high punch value of the other ingredients – actually was that sweet potato? Ah well. Let’s look on the bright side. Another fish place cannot be a bad thing. In Scotland. On an Island. Surrounded by sea.

They should definitely be everywhere. Probably. I suspect there’s a reason they’ve been outnumbered 10-to-one by, say, burger joints. Fish being very hard to do well. And it does have an extremely annoying tendency to completely disappear unless given full spotlight centre-stage.

Tonight, for example. We’re having something else from the specials menu: a curry. Haddock, coley and salmon curry (type unspecified) with sticky rice. Reasonably priced at £14. Inoffensively pleasant to eat. Not great to look at.

Does it have a studenty air? You know – that all simmered-down into one thang, look? I have no doubt it contains all the fish billed on the menu. We just can’t properly taste any of it. In fact I’m getting paprika, perhaps, some heat spicing anyway, and not much else. If a big dollop of fish stock was put into this, as it should have been, then it has somehow failed to make itself known. Curry spicing too? Like the fish cakes then; pleasant enough, but the seafood added zilcho – if you ignore the price.


I’m not saying, though, that Cafe Fish isn’t a decent enough place to while away an evening: service is brisk, attentive, alert and the guys are very pleasant.

The dessert? Funnily enough it’s only ordered because we still have the space. Yet it’s a surprise. A Sticky Date Pudding that is salty, slabby, almost candied and perfectly cooled by ice cream. £6.50 too. A definite last minute save.





OPENING; Closed Monday

Tel 0141424-4600

Menu: Crab cakes, fish tacos, fish pies, mackerel salads, a grilled fillet of cod - pretty much what you would expect for a middle-market fish place these days. 3/5

Service: Pleasant, friendly and the food came at the right times. No complaints. 4/5

Atmosphere: Relaxing, kick-back, cafe-feel in part of Glasgow’s Southside suburbia. Not very busy when we were in. 3/5

Price: It’s seafood: it’s Scotland. Actually pretty much anywhere - it’s never going to be cheap is it? They’re trying to make prices less exclusive, but at what cost? 3/5

Food: Full marks for providing a full menu packed with, okay pretty mainstream, seafood. Seafood just not handled particularly well. Tacos were pretty good. Date pud too. 6/10

Total: 19/30