Faber is located just opposite the Hammersmith bus station, in a Victorian building on the north side of the roundabout that surrounds this artery of public transport in West London. Faber opened in October 2023, a 60-seater seafood restaurant with the kitchen run by the appropriately named Ollie Bass, who worked previously at Quo Vadis and the Sessions Art Club. There is a daily changing menu based on the catch of their fisherman suppliers, and there appears to be an emphasis on sustainability.
Fully a quarter of the wines listed came from the UK. There was room on the list for tasting notes but, bizarrely, not vintages, except in just a couple of cases (why these?). The list had 52 labels and ranged in price from £27 to £150, with a median price of £55 and an average markup to retail price of 3.1 times, which is not excessive for London. Sample references were Feudo Arancio Grillo Sicilia at £38 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £10.50, Bolney Estate Lychgate Red, at £54 compared to its retail price of £19, and Domaine G. Saumaize Domaine des Maillettes Pouilly-Fuisse Grande Reserve Maconnais at £90 for a wine that will set you back £31 in the high street. For those with the means there was Fattoria Mancini Impero Blanc de Pinot Noir 2021 at £125 compared to its retail price of £44, and Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose at £150 for a wine whose current market value is £78. Corkage was £27, the price of the house wine.
Sourdough bread was from Coombeshead Farm near Launceston in Devon. It was very good indeed, having a firm crust and a nicely judged texture; this was better than most sourdough that I encounter in London restaurants. To start, Isle of Skye “scallops” as announced by the waiter but actually one scallop sliced into a few pieces was served with cauliflower puree and a dressing flavoured with pastis. The scallop was cooked well and cauliflower is a classic accompaniment to scallops; I am not sure what the pastis really added (13/20).
Wild sea bass was served with a puree of squash and some tender-stem broccoli, which is actually a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale that was first produced in Japan in 1993. The fish had good flavour and was correctly cooked, but the broccoli was overcooked. The squash did not have a lot of flavour (12/20). Langoustines were served in their shells with a little XO sauce poured over the heads. The shellfish were quite small in size but were carefully cooked, and I am assured that they were alive when delivered; they certainly tasted fresh. This was a simple but enjoyable dish with good ingredients (14/20).
Slip sole is a baby Dover sole, and can be stunning – I fondly recall the versions at Nico at 90 and at The Sportsman in Kent. This was not in that league but it was nice enough, served on the bone with a little garlic butter (13/20). On the side were quite crisp chips and some curiously bland green lentils that desperately needed seasoning. The dessert menu offered just cheese, a honey tart and ice cream, and we didn't venture into that part of the menu. Coffee was from a Brentford supplier called Muchado, and was harmless enough.
Service was friendly, though the pace of dishes was quite leisurely for a fairly quiet day in January, with a lengthy gap between starter and main course. Still, the staff that we encountered were very nice. The bill came to £94 each with corkage and an extra glass of wine to fill the gap between the courses. Faber is a pleasant enough neighbourhood restaurant that clearly makes some effort to get good quality seafood. The cooking tonight was quite basic and in all honesty the best thing I tasted was the sourdough bread, but this seems a nice enough addition to the area.