I read in Good Living during the week that Billingsgate was about to close due to rising costs of seafood, and reopen as a Spanish/Mediterrean bistro. Oh No! So I decided to head there for a final fling of their pre/post ritz dinner special. I haven't manged eat there as often as I would like, even though this deal is represents great value for money.
So made a booking for Thursday evening. There were a few more tables than the last visit to Billingsgate - perhaps other people had decided to have a last hurrah at the restaurant as well.
*Stuffed Sardines with Sicilian style sauce
*Hawksbury River Whiting with something Veloute and truffle oil
*Steamed Snapper with Risotto Nero
*Bread and butter pudding (off-menu: from Balzac up the road)
The sardines had been butterflied, and then stuffed 'open'. The sauce was salty and sweet at the same time. I could identify baby caperberries, cranberries, some citrus peel, star anise or cloves. And tomatoey and slightly spicy. It was so good, that we tried to replicate it at home a few days later.
I was a total ditz when it came to the Whiting. It smelled good, but I I couldn't place what it was that made it smell good. It was the truffle oil, which I couldn't place, and I thought was actually butter.
Snapper was very tasty, but the risotto I found quite salty. I don't know if it is because I have a lower salt tolerance than 'regular' people, but I found both fish dishes quite salty. The risotto nero (squid ink) was almost too much; it was as though the risotto was black just for the sake of being black. I may have detected a bit of the squid ink taste, but not sure!
Although we had turned up originally for the post-ritz special, we ended up getting dessert as an extra to share. Bread & butter pudding, made using brioche had been toasted so that the top was crispy but not dry, and the inside was gooey and crispy. It came highly recommended from the waiter, and I highly recommend it!
5/8/06: Addendum, "Two Rooms", the new incarnation of Billingsgate has much the same menu as Billingsgate. They don't seem to be offering the pre/post-ritz special any more though.