Matt Ward and Anthony Pender CBII are passionate about British Seafood. So much so, that the spark of Faber was first ignited when the pair began delivering shellfish and cocktails during lockdown on their bikes in East London. The venture turned out to be such a success, that they soon found themselves borrowing a pub kitchen to cook in and it wasn’t long before they found themselves taking the helm at The Victoria in Hackney – ‘An East London Pub that’s Big on Fish’.
And so it is, that in October 2023, after lengthy renovations, the duo find themselves opening their first West London restaurant under the Yummy Pubs banner on Hammersmith High Street.
The pair, who have decades of hospitality experience under their belt are excited to be joined in the kitchen by executive chef Ollie Bass. The goal with Faber is to create ‘a welcoming, comfortable, and affordable space, showcasing the best ‘from our local shores and waters.’
I visit with my husband on opening night, there’s a buzz about the place, it’s busy and its only 7pm…
The decor is light and airy with delicately textured walls. There’s a subtlety to it, much like the branding, it’s whispering ‘fish restaurant’ and not screaming it. The lighting fixtures have a paired-back Moroccan feel to them, there are comfortably furnished chairs as well as sumptuous Missoni-esque banquette seating. Bone-handled silver fish knives are a nice touch, there’s a wall map of the British Isles showing the locations of their suppliers and on the floor in the entranceway, there are some rather beautiful brass and mosaic floor tiles.
We start with a few small plates to share, the Grilled Cod Cheek skewer is perfectly pearlescent and flakey upon the fork. The Chalkstream Trout Tartare is a mixture of very finely chopped raw belly and diced loin served with a subtle soy marinade. The BBQ Scallop is served in a pool of savoury chervil oil that is balanced by an ultra-smooth cauliflower and pastis-spiked puree – it is so moreish… that we fight over the last mouthful.
BBQ Seabass fillet is another real highlight – tender, juicy flakes of bass beneath an ever so slightly charred crispy skin. The fish is fantastically fresh – a testament to the quality of their suppliers and cooked to absolute perfection.
For dessert, we share a sticky toffee pudding. It has a great consistency and is nicely spiced, but we could have done with a little more sauce!
Faber serves a range of house cocktails with a seafaring twist… my husband opts for a reworking of his favourite, A Sea Kelp Old Fashioned with Wrecking Coast Rye Whiskey. It’s a clever take on the classic and the crisp salty sea kelp flavour is complimentary without feeling overpowering.
Sadly I’m not drinking, but if I were… I’d be trying something from their amply stocked ‘Coastal Whites’ page and would encourage you to do the same. The list features a thoughtfully curated selection of seafood-friendly tipples including a Portuguese Vinho Verdes and a rather tempting Sardinian Vermentino.
In a Nutshell
Faber is clearly run by a young and passionate team who have worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth opening. There’s a great energy to the place, that’s reflected in the enthusiasm and efficiency of its staff – even on the first night! It’s evident that with the freshness of the fish, the quality of the fish cookery and the well-balanced menu, they have all the necessary ingredients to make Faber a huge success. I look forward to visiting again and trying the menu as it changes throughout the seasons.