“It looks quite posh,” said the voice down the phone. “Are you nearly here yet?” It was the usual refrain from Mike and, indeed, anyone else foolish enough to arrive punctually at any sort of social engagement also attended by me.
“I’m five minutes away,” I said, from the 55 bus, nine minutes away. “And go on in. It can’t be that posh, it’s Australian. They’re the most casual people on earth. And it’s called Dickie Fitz – you can’t be that fancy with a name like that.”
Thirteen minutes later I arrived, and it turns out you can be quite posh regardless of what Urban Dictionary says about your name (though the ‘Fitz’ part is definitely inspired by the restaurant’s NoHo address). We were there for the second day of the soft launch and it was all very new-looking; dove-grey paint scarcely dry, buttercup yellow chairs barely dented from the few lucky bottoms who’d managed to bag themselves a reservation at 50% off. All in all, very pleasing. Very Apartment Therapy.
We were greeted by a veritable phalanx of staff and sat in the middle of the room beneath a galaxy of enormous twinkling orbs. It’s quite romantic, in a cheerful way (unlike Clos Maggiore, which is romantic in an enchanting way, or Hakkasan, which is romantic in a moody way). Menus were swiftly dealt out, leading to some initial confusion between ‘Small Plates’ and ‘Starters’. We were told the former are like nibbles – albeit expensive ones, priced up to £7.50 a plate – and although the cynic in me gives this shameless bill-boosting technique some side eye, I actually quite enjoy the prospect of an all-savoury three course meal, because I’m a greedy fuck who doesn’t give a damn about dessert.
We chose the Truffle Macancini (£6.50), which arrives as five charcoal-coloured marbles that burst between the teeth in a gooey mess of silky macaroni and stringy cheese, and the Pork Ribs with Sake-Honey Glaze (£6.00). Crucially, the menu did not mention the deep, charcoal flavour that penetrates the meat all the way down to the bone – “straight off the barbie,” quips Mike – nor the nubbins of tempura’d kale scattered among the bones, which I’d pay to eat a bowl of all by themselves.
Course II yielded an especially good Beef Tartare (£10.50), an elaborately decorated round of cold chopped beef served with sourdough and an egg yolk as sunny and vibrant as the upholstery, and a breathtakingly mediocre sweet potato thing (£6.50). It lured me in with its exotic description – Salt Baked Kumura, Blue Cheese, Walnut, Miso – but as far as I could tell it contained no blue cheese and only the tiniest smattering of walnut. It was, I noted in dismay, very similar to the microwaved sweet potato I sometimes have for dinner when I can’t be arsed to make wedges.
It was halfway through our ‘starters’ that I noticed somebody else’s rib-eye steak being delivered, and, with memories of the pork ribs’ seductive char fresh on my tongue, wondered if I’d made the wrong decision in ordering the turbot. It was huge and the scent of summer barbecues wafted over us as it went past. Fortunately, Mike had ordered the Lamb Chops with Sake and Mint (£19.50), a generous portion cooked – like the ribs and the steak – on a Japanese robata grill. (It turns out I was wrong – Dickie Fitz is a Pacific restaurant, not an Aussie one.)
I’d chosen the turbot as the healthy option, and also because one of my favourite food bloggers, Nicky of The Food Judge, orders it so often. The turbot’s meat is lean, white and firm, which I loved, but the yuzu hollandaise it came with was too much: too rich and slimy in consistency for me, so I just enjoyed it with a squeeze of lemon. Alas, I rather ruined its healthful benefits with a side of ‘Wet Mash’ (£4.00), which was so heavily imbued with butter and cream I nearly had to request a straw. A sprinkle of salt from the pretty but impractical little dish fashioned from a piece of rock and voilà, heaven in a ramekin.
As planned, we ignored the dessert menu, instead pressing on to The London Cocktail Club next door for a nightcap. With 50% off food, the bill had been pleasingly low – about £20 each plus wine and service – though I wish the waitress hadn’t dropped it so obviously in front of Mike, who has the most testicles and, presumably therefore, should have footed the bill. Aside from this unfortunate nod to the 1950s, however, I found the Dickie Fitz experience modern and fun…and, yes, a little bit fancy.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.