The Wet Fish Cafe celebrates 10 years at the heart of West Hampstead

Andre Millodot opened The Wet Fish Cafe after being inspired by Parisian bistros. Picture: Nigel Sut

Andre Millodot opened The Wet Fish Cafe after being inspired by Parisian bistros. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

West Hampstead culinary institution The Wet Fish Cafe celebrated its 10th birthday in style with a four-course feast at a nearby church.

Wet Fish owner and creator Andre Millodot, 45, described the evening at St James Church as “spectacular”, with a turnout of 72 enjoying food and live music last Wednesday.

“It was the first time for both the church and for us, so it was a big experiment,” said Mr Millodot, who is Canadian. “But it was a success all round and we’re looking at further events there and elsewhere in the future.”

The cafe, in West End Lane, takes its name from its origins as a ‘wet fish shop’ in the 1990s.

When he moved to London after living in Paris for a few years, Mr Millodot noticed the English capital was lacking the intimacy of the dining experience he found abroad. So he set out to create a “vehicle for food, music, art and ambience”.

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“When I moved back to London from Paris in the mid 1990s, a lot of restaurants were very business orientated,” he explained.

“When you’re abroad you always find quirky little places that reflect the passion and personalities of the crazy people behind them. So the idea here was to create one of those.”

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Over the last decade Mr Millodot has noticed a big change in West Hampstead, which he described as a “total culinary desert when we opened”.

“It’s growing up a lot,” he said. “At the moment it’s on a tipping point. Suddenly new and better businesses are opening. It’s starting to have a scene.”

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