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Chez Liline, Finsbury Park, London

Immense but mellow fish and seafood flavour from the seafood soup, rounded by tomato, enriched by a garlicky rouille, lifted with the sharpness of flat leafed parsley, contrasted against toasted slices of bread softened in the centre with butter. The texture of the soup was great - afforded a certain soft thickness, probably from the gelatin of fish bones. A perfect prawn, butterflied in the shell, ripping easily on the teeth. Succulent mussels.

A generous hunk of grouper, very precisely cooked - moist, flaking in large pieces, firm, with just faintest bit of springy texture. A Mauritian sauce, with a variety of herbs, tomato and spices (perhaps coriander somewhere, and a more obvious appearance of ginger). Rice on the side.

Excellent green beans and chow chow (a type of squash) beautifully oiled, fragrant with caramelised shallots.

A gorgeous puffy chocolate mousse, while featuring merely good but not out of this world chocolate, exemplified excellent technique.

Exceptional care in the cooking, impeccable classic technique (echoes of old school French), honest and deep flavours, high quality fish (they also own the fish monger next door).

Probably one of my best meals in a long while.

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  1. Thnks for the recommendation - I have many friends who live in Finny P and we always struggle to think of where to eat. What are the prices like?

    9 Replies
    1. re: hollow_legs

      The starters were around ~£7-8ish, and the main courses probably averaged £13-14. Love to hear more, since i've only had a meal there, although I am planning to go back for more.

      1. re: limster

        I had eyed Chez Liline for a few months and finally went there for a special occassion. We each had a starter, main course, side dish and a beer, and the total came to about £65. I thought the food was nice: they offer fresh fish (and not just the standard varieties) in flavourful sauces and tasty side dishes. My companion and I enjoyed dinner but we both thought that it was a bit overpriced for the experience, especially in Finsbury Park (if you consider that you can go to Petek across the road and have fantastic, succulent meat dishes with rice, salad and bread in a great atmosphere for about £20 per person). The food tastes fresh but not fantastic and seems to be a bit variable, and there is not much ambiance to speak of.

        I think that the set menu might be worth investigating. That way you still get nice, fresh seafood but aren't paying unusually high prices.

        1. re: tappy

          The set menus sound like a great strategy.

          Love to hear more about Petek. What's your favourite dishes there?

          Also have you been to Jai Krishna down the road, and is it any good?

          1. re: limster

            Hi Limster, I have been to Jai Krishna a lot when I used to live in Finbury Park... I loved it. All vegetarian & you write out your own order on a piece of paper. The curries and potato dishes are really good, as are the samosas and desserts. I took my dad there, who is a meat and three veg man, and he didn't miss the meat at all...

            1. re: ellielocal

              Many thanks for the info, will have to check it out soon.

            2. re: limster

              I'm reading this thread with interest. Anyone want to take up limster's suggestion of mentioning your favourite dishes at Petek?

              1. re: Pan

                I love Petek. Nearly all the meze stuff is really good, as is the bread - so that makes a great meal in itself. The falafel is really good, exploding with loads of fresh herbs - especially mint.

                As for favourite dishes - its all good classic Turkish kebab fare, no particular surprises. Just really nicely cooked and well priced. There may be some particularly interesting things lurking, but I don't remember nor have I tried them. I wouldn't travel across London to eat there, but if you're in the vicinity or live nearby its well worth a trip.

                1. re: chief1284

                  Excellent. We will check it out for sure. Coincidentally, my girlfriend lives right across the street from a Turkish restaurant in New York, so we can compare.

            3. re: tappy

              I don't think it's necessarily a fair comparison - you're always going to pay more for fish because it's a lot more expensive ingredient.

        2. There is an honesty about this restaurant that I like very much.

          Five or more years ago it was almost always packed. On the last two visits we were alone in the restaurant and I don't understand why. The fish is always fresh and the wonderful combination of French, African and Indian influences is still apparent.

          On a blind date a few years ago I set fire to the menu which certainly broke the ice, if nothing else!

          I would be happy to go back there any time.