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Restaurant Review: Forman’s Fish Island, Stour Road in London

Forman’s Fish Island

Food writer Firgas Esack visits Forman’s Fish Island in east London for a seafood brunch.

Lance Forman is debonair – and surprisingly understated – for a former PWC accountant turned Special Agent for the Department of Trade and Industry, who then left government to take over his family salmon smoking factory. He took on Ken Livingstone (as former Mayor) when the factory was set for compulsory purchase and then subsequently (presumably as a two-fingered gesture) opened his Fish Island restaurant nearby, bringing to the local area many things it was lacking: glamour, decadence, and a decent place to enjoy a champagne brunch.

Upon arrival, one needs to suspend one’s disbelief that you have just driven through Hackney Wick, meandered around an industrial estate and then parked in a dockside car park… Once you set foot inside the Forman’s building – possibly aided by an umbrella wielding member of staff if the weather is inclement – it may as well be the Upper East Side rather than E3.

Brunch at Forman's shot by Rich Hendry
Delicious seafood is served at Forman’s

Beautiful glassware and round mirrors (like portholes) compliment the picture windows and terrace – and the view is literally like pressing your nose up against the Olympic stadium (whilst sipping a Bellini). You will see narrowboats, you will see London’s urban magnificence and you will see slick and attentive bar staff. You will not see leaping salmon.

The fish is smoked, cured, primped and plated up on site – you can view the smokehouse process from the gallery should you wish – and as a brunch choice served hot and with eggs alongside sourdough bread and organic butter.

The Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve is a perfect pairing, or try a glass of English NYE Timber or Chapel Down sparkling wine.

Brunch is served on Saturdays, book via