If cooking were a Shakespeare play, fish would be its Hamlet. Done right, the most difficult of the Bard’s works will slay audiences. Done wrong, and it can lapse into pomp and absurdity. Likewise the fish in a fine restaurant: get it right and diners will applaud. Get it wrong, and they'll send it back.
Tre Bicchieri has become the talk of restaurant land since it opened in June 2010. It's bright, stylishly done out in glass and wood, and thronged with an older, sophisticated crowd. And it serves a delicious robalo – a rich, flaky sea bass – in a light crust, with perfectly crisped vegetables. Cooked to perfection, it's enough to fill both plate and stomach without crowding out the delicate, tangy smoked salmon starter.
My companion opted for pasta with pumpkin and pine nuts in a sauce that was both light and satisfying. By this time – 9.30pm – the place was full; but it never felt hectic, and we were left to take our time.
For dessert, Tre Brûlée: three pots of crème brûlée in vanilla, pistachio and orange flavours. The orange was just a touch too sweet. The pistachio crème had just the right nutty tang, and the vanilla pud was creamy perfection – emblematic of a restaurant that doesn't need to twist food into contortions to draw a crowd; that's swanky without being ostentatious; and that does an excellent Hamlet without unnecessary drama.