Match of the week | Roast monkfish and chips with Tonnix

Match of the week

Roast monkfish and chips with Tonnix

There’s a long story behind this week’s match but it’s a good one so bear with me . . .

Two good mates - two of Britain’s most high profile chefs, Mark Hix and Mitch Tonks, agree to go on a wine trip to Portugal. (Chefs do this all the time when they get the chance.) Just before setting off for the airport Hix remembers he hasn’t got his passport. Tonks, who lives in Devon, drives up via Hix’s home in Dorset to pick it up, can’t find the key, has to wait a couple of hours for the builder to arrive, gets to the airport in the nick of time then finds he’s picked up the wrong passport himself. Hix sets off, Tonks misses the plane and has to send a taxi down to Devon to pick it up at a cost of just under £300.

After all that stress it’s maybe not surprising that our heroes let their hair down by deciding to bottle a wine under their own name which they would sell in their restaurants. Hence the birth of the Tonnix range which sounds curiously like something out of Asterix but as you may have already grasped is an amalgamation of their two names. (I’ve come up with mad ideas like that on wine trips myself.)

The icing on the cake was to get Hixy’s friend famous Britpop artist Tracey Emin to design the label and so you have the perfect marketing story . . .

So what of the wine? Well, it's produced by Quinta de la Rosa, classifies as a Douro Branco and is a blend of Codega, Rabigato, Gouveia and Malvasia Fina (no wonder they called it Tonnix).

I tried it the other night at Tonks’s new Bristol restaurant Rockfish Grill and very nice it was too - lush and smooth, with a lick of oak - a good wine to take you through a meal. It went brilliantly well with some roast monkfish (and chips) which Tonks cooked on his much prized new oven/grill which simulates a barbecue without the smoke and smell.

It also went well with the fritto misto that preceded it - surprisingly more so than a Prosecco which I would have expected to be the better pairing. But it didn’t quite work with the very good oysters we kicked off with, some of them Colchester natives (oysters on the whole don’t like oak in wine).

So there you have it. It costs £25 on Tonks’s (and presumably, Hix’s*) winelists and £12 from the adjoining fish shop which is slightly less good value but it’s always tricky to retail a wine next to a restaurant. And besides there’s that taxi bill to offset . . .

* I’m going to his new restaurant Hix in Soho this week and will tell you if it is . .

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