The mackerel might look beautiful served almost raw, its silver skinned charred by a blowtorch and its flesh pearly white and firm.
And there’s no denying that it eats well that way, too.
But, in truth, doesn’t this most humble of fish taste at its best when turned into a pate?
Which is why it was an automatic choice when I saw it on the menu at Little Blackwood, an exemplary neighbourhood restaurant in Moseley.
It’s not the usual fare you’d find here – the thrust of chef-patron Ben Taylor’s cooking is usually contemporary, refined but not fussy and heavily influenced by eastern flavours.
But on Tuesday evenings Little Backwood serves a menu of classic dishes at a very reasonable price.
Thus the appearance of mackerel pate, a staple from the the sort of 1970s dinner parties when Mateus Rosé flowed freely and people didn’t shy away from wearing double denim.
This was a much superior version from any I ate in the days when I had hope and hair.
The pate itself, whilst perhaps slightly under-seasoned, was flavoursome and nicely textured.
It came with a refreshing salad zingy with pieces of fennel.
Great quality sourdough was lightly toasted and topped with a luxurious but light horseradish creme fraiche.
This was simplicity personified and perfected.
Afterwards came a a deeply savoury serving of offal.
Two thick slices of calves liver were precisely cooked so that they remained pink within.
Pearl onions were soft and provided a sweet counter-balance to the liver.
Mashed spuds were all that mashed spuds should be – indulgent, rich, satisfying.
There were roasted carrots and a gravy with real umami depth of flavour.
Feed me this twice a week for the rest of the year and I wouldn’t complain.
Nor, indeed, would I complain were I to regular encounter the very retro dessert I ate – chocolate concrete and pink custard.
This old favourite had again been elevated by a very skilled kitchen but retained its character.
The concrete was brittle and bold with chocolate flavour.
The custard was lighter than that dolloped on a schoolboy’s plate, but still hugely enjoyable.
To say that I left feeling replete is an understatement.
I suspect that I will be paying more Tuesday night visits to Little Blackwood.
Need to know
The Tuesday night menu changes weekly.
There are three courses, with three options in each.
It’s £14 for one course, £18 for two, £22 for three.
There are vegetarian options.
145 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8JP. 0121 449 6344.