Saturday 28th June saw the second of our Culinary Tours of Deptford. After a great Vietnamese tour with Minh Chu from Saigon Streat, this time round we were treated to the most comprehensive tour around fish we could have hoped for. We met at 9.45am at the Deptford Lounge, and after introductions, Craig Keane from House of Umami walked us up the High Street barely pausing for breath as he imparted to us some of his encyclopaedic knowledge of fish and fishing. His enthusiasm for the subject was infectious and his knowledge second to none.
We visited My Fish (69 Deptford High Street) where Craig talked to us about how to spot a good fish – pinky red gills, flesh that bounces back when prodded, clear eyes, a fish that bends easily (apparently a stiff fish is a sign of rigor mortis setting in) and smelling pleasantly of the sea. I always thought that strong fishy smell was just the way fish smelled, but apparently not. If they smell fishy then they’re starting to rot so buy them at your peril!
One of the best things about Craig is his incredible understanding of the sustainability of fish. We love fish, but know that there are serious issues with eating certain species as they are being over fished. Craig explained the different fishing methods and which fish are better to eat than others. This is clearly a very complex issue but if you buy fish caught by pole or hand nets off the British Isles then you’re probably going to be getting some pretty sustainable fish.
He mentioned buying cuttlefish as a replacement for quid, British shellfish and also told us that we have our own anchovies for two weeks of the year (this will depend on their spawning so will vary from year to year). So get to know your fish monger and ask them questions!
After My Fish we visited old Deptford favourites the Cod Father (47 Deptford High Street) where even Craig was massively impressed by the quality of the fish and the knowledge of the Cod father crew. We bought some delicious, fresh samphire as a tasty addition to lunch
After our tour (with a mention of My Butcher’s smoked mackerel in a bowl at number 53–55 on the way back) we were back to the Lounge for a whistle-stop lesson in knife sharpening, cleaning, scaling, gutting and filleting fish! After having a go at these skills, Craig cooked up a delicious lunch with our sea bream and sea bass all washed down with dry white wine. The atmosphere was brilliant with such a great group of people, and friendships were forged.
If you missed out and would like to join our next one, it will run on the 28th September and the theme is South Asian. A chance to learn some traditional South Asian recipes and cooking techniques with all ingredients bought in Delightful Deptford!
If you’re interested in attending, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org