The campaigning restaurant guide for people who want to eat fish – sustainably

In Partnership with Marine Conservation Society

The Old Fishmarket (Sankey's)

19 The Upper Pantiles, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN2 5TN

01892 511422

Fish2fork Rating
4.5 Blue Fish

Last rated: 10/04/2014

What we say

Hats off to Matthew Sankey for the effort he puts in to procuring quality and sustainable supplies. We wish there were more like him. Every item of seafood that goes on his menus is carefully assessed and if it doesn't match his exacting standards for sustainability it is discarded. His menus show that it is possible to obtain a wide selection of farmed and wild seafood without having to compromise on sustainability. Loch Duart Salmon and Gigha halibut are among his responsible farmed choices. For wild seafood, Matthew pays close attention to the Marine Conservation Society guidelines and uses - mussels for example - supplies certified by the Marine Stewardship Council where suitable. The ethos of, '˜Never knowingly buying fish that is unsustainable,' is admirable and one that we would like to see other restaurants adopt. Moreover, the Champagne and Oyster Bar practises what it preaches and sets a high bar for marine sustainability. Fantastic.

What they say

The Old Fishmarket is our second restaurant in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Our commitment to sourcing the highest quality of seafood sustainably is as serious as ever and our chefs meet with our fishmongers every day of the week to ensure both qualify and origin.

About The Old Fishmarket (Sankey's)

The Champagne and Oyster Bar is, somewhat appropriately, housed in the Old Fishmarket building in the famous Pantiles area of the town. The bijou building dates back to 1745 and has been fitted out with an open-plan kitchen, marble-top tables and a tiled floor to add a touch of luxury well in keeping with the historic surrounds. It is more spacious than it looks from the outside but with 22 seats and having quickly established itself as a popular venue, booking is advisable. It opens Tuesdays through to Saturdays.

Wet fish (a lovely old term that has largely fallen into disuse), mussels, lobster and crab (the latter from Harvey’s of Newlyn) and eight types of oysters are menu staples, along with caviar. Oysters are sold by the pair or half dozen and include Duchy Natives (£8.35 a pair), Lindisfarne Rocks (£4.80 a pair) and Carlingford Rocks (£7.50 a pair). The daily menu might major on mains such as Peterhead cod fillet (£19.50), smoked mackerel nicoise (£10.50) or moules mariniere (£10.50). Whole dressed crab (£19.40) and Cornish lobster (£40) are among the headline acts but equally you can build a romantic seafood platter for two (£22.50) from a mix of ingredients including crab, cockles, whelks, devilled anchovies and pickled herring. (For those who don’t fancy eating seafood, the restaurant is happy to prepare another dish, but give them notice.) And all this can be merrily washed down with a selection of champagnes and sparkling wines from around the world.

The Old Fishmarket (Sankey's)