As you step into the restaurant, you’re greeted by a six-foot bronze statue of a topless mermaid created by Damien Hirst, waiters in eccentric suits, and a live coral reef tank which dominates the entire back wall.
Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Sexy Fish.
Widely hailed as one of London’s best restaurants, and having achieved equal success in Miami, Sexy Fish has expanded to its third location in Manchester’s Spinningfields district.
The similarities between Sexy Fish and The Ivy are clear – bold, bright touches peppered throughout each restaurant.
Richard Caring, the Chairman of Caprice Holdings, the group behind both Sexy Fish and The Ivy, as well as the Soho House venture in Manchester, clearly has a love for the eccentric.
On the latest venture, Richard says: “We are truly excited to be in one of the greatest cities in the UK, if not the world. We have a special connection with Manchester, and we believe that Sexy Fish will be loved and enjoyed by its guests”.
The restaurant, nestled within the former Emporio Armani store, features mesmerising aquatic interiors, including three colossal sea creature sculptures by Damien Hirst, as well as bespoke ‘Fish Lamps’ by renowned architect Frank Gehry.
The opulent bar area is a standout feature, with a luminous pink onyx and glass facade set against the backdrop of a cascading waterfall.
Even the bathrooms – underwater scenes in a dazzling shade of fuschia – stick to the theme.
But, don’t be fooled, Sexy Fish is not a restaurant which chooses style over substance.
The attention to detail extends beyond the interiors through to the talented mixologists and culinary team, led by internationally acclaimed Chef Director, Bjoern Weissgerber.
Bespoke Sexy Fish Cocktails
The drinks menu includes an exciting range of wine, Japanese whiskey, and over 70 varieties of champagne.
Their award-winning Trinity cocktail menu, made up of both classic and contemporary tipples, is equally impressive.
There are four bespoke cocktails designed exclusively for Sexy Fish Manchester, and although we’re intrigued by the yoghurt, chamomile, and Dry Vermouth mix of the Banana and cacao (£13), we instead settle for the Watermelon and basil Frizzante (£12).
The light and refreshing blend of Grey Goose Vodka, watermelon, basil, Campari, and Tio Pepe starts our dining experience on a high.
Sushi, Sashimi & Seafood at Sexy Fish Manchester
Each dish, curated by Bjoern Weissgerber, is inspired by “the seas of Asia”, with half of the food menu dedicated to sushi, maki, and sashimi.
There are also three Omakases (chef’s choice menus) to choose from – ranging from their Classic at £58 per person to their slightly more extravagant Premium at £162.
We opt for the Premium: if you’re already at Sexy Fish you might as well embrace the luxury.
The prices may be high, but so is the quality.
The dishes come out in threes – the first to do so are the smoked tuna belly and cured kombu, oyster with smoked chilli, and lobster tempura.
The oyster is a triumph, fresh as a sea breeze, enhanced with the warmth from the smoked chilli.
The lobster meanwhile loses its flavour slightly, lost in the crisp tempura coating.
Next to come along is sweet and crispy duck with fresh watermelon – a winning combination – and delightful sashimi of yellowtail served with a mandarin ponzu dipping sauce.
Wagyu gyoza foie gras are luxurious and buttery mouthfuls, infused with truffle which adds a rich and earthy undertone that lingers on the palate.
The dishes are paired with ‘Heart of Oak’, a fragrant Japanese sake with notes of pear and melon, which goes down smoothly.
Other highlights include the sweet, caramelised black cod with spicy miso, and tender king crab which never fails to impress.
You can’t really go wrong with Japanese Wagyu, especially when paired with a light-bodied Pinot Noir, but Sexy Fish gets it as right as I’ve ever had. The meat is rich, with smoked kimchi adding another layer of flavour.
Mouthwatering Desserts at Manchester’s Sexy Fish
At this point, we know Sexy Fish don’t do things by half, and their dessert menu is a testament to this.
Their half-baked strawberry and golden lime cheesecake is a beauty, but it’s their ‘Sexy Ever After’ passionfruit mousse hidden under a white chocolate seashell and edible pearls that leaves me in awe.
Bjoern Weissgerber, explains: “Our aim is to merge fun and luxury; we want our diners to have fun and enjoy the culinary experience.
Dessert is the last course of our menu – we want to make sure we send you home with a smile and great memories.”.
With a full stomach and a round of applause around the table, the mission was very much accomplished.
Find Sexy Fish at 1 The Avenue, Deansgate, Manchester M3 3AP.
Open every day, 12pm – late.
For bookings and more information, click here.