London’s best fish and seafood restaurants
Oysters, scallops and new school fish and chips are on the menu
Restaurants across the country have finally started to reopen their doors after months out of action, attempting to ease back into business accompanied with new cleaning regimes and changes to service as the hospitality sector adjusts to the “new normal”.
Even though things may not be quite as they were, the public’s appetite for a meal out remains strong as ever.
London’s restaurant scene, like the rest of the country, is starting to get up and running again and seafood is back on the menu. Here are some of the capital’s best fish and seafood restaurants taking bookings.
Prawn on the Lawn
The brilliantly-named Prawn on the Lawn is not just a restaurant but also a fishmonger. This means the menu changes on a daily basis depending on what fish have been caught. Sample small plates include the favourite Prawn on the Lawn as well as Porthilly mussels with clams and manzanilla, and cod with Sri Lankan black curry. If you’re hungry then why not get a fish for the table? Served whole or filleted and cooked classic, Thai or Chinese, the choice of fish include John Dory, wild sea bass, brill and plaice.
292-294 St Paul’s Road, London N1 2LH; prawnonthelawn.com
Not everyone has an appetite for oysters and shellfish, sometimes all you fancy is a decent fish and chip supper. Hook in Camden has its favourites - famous tacos, nibbles and specials - but it’s the “new school” plates that will definitely fill a gap. There’s the Classic (fresh cod or haddock in panko breadcrumb with homemade seaweed salted chips and homemade tartar sauce on the side); the Cajun Fresh (cod/haddock in panko breadcrumbs and cajun spices with homemade seaweed salted chips and homemade cajun sauce on the side); or the Lemon & Basil (fresh cod/haddock in lemon and basil tempura with homemade seaweed salted chips and homemade garlic truffle sauce on the side).
63-65 Parkway, Camden Town, London NW17PP; hookrestaurants.com
The first Bonnie Gull “seafood shack” really did look as if it had been picked up from the coast - Southwold, perhaps - and reeled in to a street corner in Fitzrovia, where its driftwood furniture, gingham tablecloths and striped awnings are at once both rakish and nostalgic. Grilled sardines are a punchy treat, with their salsa of coriander and mango, while the whole plaice provides more than enough fish, delicately flavoured with lemon and olive oil, for at least two diners. The Fitzrovia menu is divided more traditionally into starters and main courses: roast cod from Looe with glazed pig cheek is a highlight of the latter.
21a Foley Street, Fitzrovia, London W1W 6DS; bonniegull.com
This West End institution takes its name from market trader Josef Sheekey, who, in the 1890s, was granted permission by Lord Salisbury to serve fish and seafood in St Martin’s Court provided he supply after-theatre meals to Salisbury’s guests. More than a century on, it remains an established favourite with the capital’s glitterati, who you can often spot slurping oysters or tucking into the famous fish pie post performance. In 2008 it expanded to include the J Sheekey Atlantic Bar next door for a slightly less formal experience, featuring a buzzing open kitchen and ample outdoor seating for relaxed al fresco dining.
28-32 St Martin's Court, London, WC2N 4AL; j-sheekey.co.uk
Photo by Justin de Souza
The Coal Shed
Although not solely a fish restaurant (pun both intended and regretted) and despite its steakhouse aesthetics, The Coal Shed has plenty to lure in the serious lover of seafood. Starters include market oysters, chalkstream trout, grilled gurnard fillet and scallops in shell. While whole black bream and roasted sussex cod feature on the main course menu. Having started life in Brighton, The Coal Shed now has a second branch in London, near Tower Bridge.
One Tower Bridge, London SE1; coalshed-restaurantlondon.co.uk