Johnny Fishbone is the third venue from the guys behind Buffalo Dining Club and Chester White. Unlike its Italian big brothers, Johnny Fishbone is a Spanish-style tapas restaurant with a focus on seafood and wine. While many characteristics of BDC carry across, from the handshake and kiss-on-the-cheek greetings, to the homey vibes, some things couldn’t be more different.
Take the kingfish ceviche with lime and chilli, which is pale pink, fresh and delicate. While it may have you reaching for water, it’s not at all fishy. The baby snapper (subject to seasonal change) with cured-fennel-and-saffron butter is soft and fluffy. There’s also a side of black rice with cauliflower and baby spinach that goes well with the fish. Also try the quinoa salad of nectarine and honey yoghurt; honey bugs with salsa salmoriglio (a condiment made with lime juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano and parsley); and white anchovies on rye crisps with peppers and a caper mayo.
The wine-list is 60 strong. Anything marked with a black dot means it’s organic/bio-dynamic. The list is divided, curiously, into several famous Johnnys. The John Travolta Summer Nights section features chilled reds and the Jon Bon Jovi: Bed of Roses section is for pinky-orangey wines. Cocktails will change regularly.
The fit-out channels a 1920s New York bar through dark green leathers, marble table tops, white penny-tile floors and a wall full of wine bottles. It’s welcoming and nonchalant.