The writing’s been on the wall for some time now: tinned fish is getting its moment in the sun. It’s a somewhat unexpectedly trendy food, but this won’t come as a surprise to the avid deli shoppers and menu scourers among us – or to anyone who’s ever come back from Lisbon with a suitcase full of sardine tins. There are plenty of factors at play in this recent proliferation, but it’s partly down to the fact that over the past few years, tinned fish packages have been getting more and more stylish. These aren’t your John West tuna chunks in tins so dull that they will live at the back of your cupboard even after the zombie apocalypse has exhausted all other food options. These are the graphically designed, consciously retro, new-wave tins that you’ll proudly display on a kitchen shelf.
Tinned fish has long been a staple of foodie diets and cuisines across Europe, but the UK (and the US) seem to be only just catching up, with people learning that there are far more exciting options than what can be found in Tesco. Maybe this is the dawning of a new, fishy-er era. Maybe it’s just another 15 minutes. But for now, tinned fish is infiltrating our shops, menus and our newsfeeds – and if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em, right? So, here are the city’s trendiest tins and where to find them.
New England import Saltie Girl is leading the way for restaurants to get tinned fish on the menu – they even have a dedicated list. Choose from the likes of smoked Spanish anchovies in EVOO or trout with juniper, lemon & thyme, and each option is served with a trio of salts, crunchy butter, pickled piparra peppers, piquillo pepper jam and French bread. We expect to see other spots following suit very soon.
The Tinned Fish Market
The clue is in the name, this is *the* place to buy tinned fish to take home. They’re in Borough Market all week and Broadway Market on Saturdays, but you can also order from their online shop as well as get a monthly subscription to stay fully stocked at all times.
Tinned fish is big in Spain, so heading to Spanish deli Furanxo for your fix is a no-brainer. They’ve got an expansive selection that includes the likes of mackerel, wood-fire grilled octopus, tuna belly, mussels in Galician sauce and more.
Another fantastic deli, Superette stocks a bunch of indie food and drink brands. There’s plenty of tinned fish to choose from, as well as plenty of cheese, cured meats and wine – so if you’re planning a charcuterie evening, this is your one-stop shop.
A Portuguese Love Affair
Portugal’s another country that’s really into tinned fish so Columbia Road’s A Portuguese Love Affair has, of course, been selling a very solid selection long before this recent surge in popularity. From pâtés to filets, you’ll find what you’re after here.
Sardina is a London-based online tinned fish shop stocked with cans from across the Iberian peninsula – and there’s a helluva lot of it to choose from. As a nice bonus, you can check out their highlights on Instagram for serving suggestions and recipes.