Meet our fishmonger: Steve Hatt of Islington

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We love discovering hidden sources of the finest ingredients, but in the case of our fishmonger, the word is out. Steve Hatt, a fourth-generation fishmonger in Islington, is legendary for the freshness of his fish and his dedication to the trade. His fish shop has stood on Essex Road since 1895, enduring a bomb strike during the war and a devastating fire last decade.

Today, Hatt’s shop combines a traditional ambiance up front — a wet counter where customers choose their fish and the staff clean and fillet it — with modern loading and ice-crushing machinery in back. This back-end operation helps make a quick transition from sea to counter: the fish sold here are no more than 24 hours out of the water.

Hatt can tell you where a sole comes from just by looking at its colour. But he also has more formal ways of guaranteeing the source of his seafood. Hatt buys locally-caught fish at auction, where it is graded and labeled with its sea area of origin.

He says that’s the best way to ensure not only freshness, but also sustainability.

The long queue outside Hatt’s shop attests to his large following of discerning customers, for whom pre-packaged supermarket fish just won’t do. Hatt says that it usually takes 48 hours before a fish even arrives at a supermarket. But surprisingly, Hatt says, not many restaurants are among his regular customers, as many have started relying more on pre-processed fish.

At Rose & Mary, we’re joining the queue for Hatt’s salmon, monkfish, sardines and mackerel. We share his commitment to freshness and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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