North London's Cultural Guide

Tenner Or Less: Sea bass at E.Mono, Kentish Town Road

Forget the shish, it’s all about the fish

Iconic signage. Photo: SE
Where? You know where. Halfway up the high street, next to Camden’s Daughter. The one with the Giles Coren reviews plastered all over the windows and framed on the walls. And, even more famously, there’s the charming Victorian signage (dating back to 1872), which caused something of a sensation when it was uncovered in 2011.

What? Yes, yes, we know it’s all about the kebabs – iskenders, doners and koftes, all still as delicious as ever – but their new thing, as advertised on the chalkboard outside, is whole fish: sea bass, or bream, blackened on the grill, served with rice and salad.

The whole bream, and nothing but the bream. Photo: SE
Why? Well, it makes a trip to the café just that bit more January, right? The accompanying fresh salad – of red cabbage, rocket, lettuce, tomato and onion, with pickled vegetables adding sharpness – is nothing other than vit-tastic. Meanwhile the charred white flesh, its crisp skin so tasty, nuzzles up to buttery rice, making for a wholesome tenner lunch, if you stick to tap water. It comes in its head-and-tail-on entirety, mind, so you’ll have to lop off the eye; and allow time for the inevitable fiddly bone-picking.

Notes: It’s not exactly a gorgeous dining area, let’s be honest. When the owners converted their own next-door cafe and bakery a couple of years back, knocking it through, we hoped for a slightly more obliging space to linger. With its bright spotlights, bare brick and simple furniture, it’s purely functional, but adequate enough during the day or if you’re on the move.


Don’t: forget to concentrate while dissecting the fish – you don’t want to end up being carted off to the Royal Free now.

The bream or bass and salad is £10 from E.Mono, open midday till late, 87 Kentish Town Road NW5

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