As Fish Hook prepares to celebrate its first anniversary

Emma Brophy catches up with Michael Nadra to find out how the past year has gone

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Fond of fish? You'll fall hook line and sinker Michael Nadra makes an outstanding return to Chiswick restaurant scene

Different spelling signals change of direction for Fish Hook

1st Anniversary Dinner Menu

Monday 20th November

A Pair of Prestige Special de Claire Oysters
Picpoul de Pinet,
Dom. de Roquemolière, 2005

Ceviche of Tuna, Salmon, Swordfish, & Scallops with Salmon Caviar
Gewürztraminer, Colterenzio, 2005

Grilled Lobster with Buttered Saffron Noodles, Seafood Sauce
& Mixed Salad
Chablis 1er Cru, Montmain, L.Michel, 2003

Wild Seabass with a Casserole of Chorizo, Squid, Mussels,
Planchada Beans & Gremolata
Tempranillo, Nepenthe, 2003

Lemon Sorbet with Mulled Wine & Wild Berries

Chocolate Fondant with Salted Caramel & Vanilla Ice Cream
Muscat de Rivesaltes, 2004

Coffee & Chocolate Truffles

Tasting Food £45
Tasting Wine £25

Fish Hook is open seven days a week for Lunch and Dinner.  A set menu for lunch and early evening weekdays is available priced at £12.50 for one course, £16.00 for two courses or £18.50 for three courses. Vegetarian and meat dishes are also available.

Fish Hook, 6-8 Elliott Road, W4
Tel. 020 8742 0766

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“A fish restaurant that really is a fish restaurant is a rare bird indeed” believes The Independent’s food critic.

It takes a certain tenacity to set ones stall out as a specialist, particularly in a highly competitive arena such as Chiswick, therefore one cannot help but admire the courage and commitment of Michael Nadra, chef and proprietor of Fish Hook.

A mere twelve months ago, Nadra altered the South African spelling, gave the restaurant a new coat of paint, hung a series of smart monochrome prints to complete the seaside look and opened for business.

Remaining true to his vision, Nadra has succeeded in charming the critics (making it into Fay Maschler’s Top 20 Openings of 2006) and building an enviable following of loyal locals.

I caught up with him as he prepares to celebrate his anniversary to find out how his first year at the helm has gone.

“Congratulations on completing your first year how have you found it?”

“There are times when it feels as if I have been here for ages and others when I can’t believe how fast it’s gone. It was quite a scary thing to take on. This is my first solo venture, the first time being not just head chef but sole owner too. Considering that 90% of restaurants fail in their first year giving me a 10% chance of success, I am really proud to still be here!”

“What have been the highs / lows?”

“The high points have been the good reviews; receiving praise from highly respected critics has been fantastic plus the fact that they have all been unsolicited. I don’t have a pr company inviting people in so to be recognized by such influential people in the industry is a big achievement. Earning the loyalty of local customers too has also been great. The low point was definitely the World Cup but I think everyone was really quiet then.”

“Did or does the competition in Chiswick worry you?”

“No it doesn’t scare me. You have to believe in yourself and what you’re doing and be aware of your own strengths. I wanted to create a friendly and informal local restaurant that serves good food at a good price and I believe that is what I’ve done.”

“Us Chiswick folk are acquiring increasingly educated palates – what is your secret to keeping your regulars coming back?”

“I believe it’s the freshness and quality of the fish and other produce that I use.  It's also the way that people can come here and experiment by ordering a few different dishes [most items on the menu can be ordered as a starter or a main course]. We’re also an informal restaurant and as I’m always here customers get to know me. This is not a job for me, this is my life and I hope that passion comes through in my cooking”

“Let’s go back to the beginning and talk about how a degree in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering led you to become a chef.”

“Food has always been in my blood. My mother is Polish and my father Syrian so from the very beginning food played a large part in my life. When I was in my third year at university I got a summer holiday job working at The Canteen in Chelsea Harbour. Within two weeks I was doing the job of a trained chef and never looked back. After I graduated I went to work for Nick Nairn.”

“You’ve worked in a number of Michelin restaurants and with some of the biggest names in the industry. What do you believe the main thing you have learnt from these experiences?”

“Working with Gordon Ramsay taught me discipline. He’s not the tyrant he’s made out to be on the TV. Although it’s exaggerated somewhat, that is how a head chef in a highly pressured kitchen behaves. I also built up good relationships with suppliers and use these same people [including Andreas Georgiou and Macken Brothers] who supply Michelin restaurants to provide produce for Fish Hook.”

“You’re considered young to have achieved all you have to date.  Would you say that your youth is a help or a hindrance?”

“Definitely a huge help. You need so much energy to run a restaurant or any business plus the fact that I am single means that I can devote all my time to Fish Hook.”

“What’s your vision for the future?”

“I have no plans to open a chain of Fish Hooks or indeed even one more. I simply want to keep on being consistent with the food I produce and maintaining the high standards we’ve set.”

Michael Nadra was talking to
Emma Brophy

November 16, 2006