Surely the most important factor in any fish restaurant’s success is the quality and freshness of the fish, especially if the restaurant is down a leafy sidestreet in fashionable Chelsea, miles from the sea in any direction. However, any fears we harboured in this area were dispelled almost immediately as our starters came and we were served half a dozen beautifully plump, clean, fresh Maldon Rock oysters that needed nothing but a squeeze of lemon juice to make them sing, and a lovely, crispy, panko covered soft shell crab accompanied by a delicately layered dipping sauce. If the starters were anything to go by we were in for a rare treat indeed!
Lobster tail burgers at Geales
For the main event we opted for the lobster tail burger and one of the specials that day: pan-fried John Dory. The latter was cooked well and served with an appealing, tangy tomato and balsamic concoction which was served separately, on the side, so one could add it to taste and add it I did. It complimented the sweet fish wonderfully to which the pile of sucked-clean bones on my plate testified. The lobster tail burger was less of a triumph. My colleague was rightly excited by the idea of a lobster tail in a bun but what arrived was more of a ‘homogenous pattie’, more akin to a standard fishcake than the anticipated tail of the king of crustaceans. It did taste very pleasant but a small disappointment lingered. We drank a couple of very pleasant beers (Meantime Pale Ale) with our meal from a decent range on offer. We didn’t indulge in the wine list but, from a glance, most tastes were catered for and with prices not out of place, given the standard of the restaurant and it’s ‘upmarket’ location. The high standard of the food and the very pleasant décor were further enhanced by our very helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic waiter who trod the fine line perfectly between being well informed and friendly without being over-bearing (a valuable skill that so many seem to get wrong). Overall I would definitely recommend a visit to Geales, especially if you’re looking for a friendly neighbourhood restaurant serving good quality food that has been prepared by people who really care about what they put on your plate. It is a very short walk from the abundance of generic eateries that litter the Kings Road and absolutely worth the stroll for the oysters alone!
By Dickie Dolan