My wife and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary yesterday at this British seaside town inspired seafood restaurant (ranking roughly #100 out of 17,500 London restaurants on Tripadvisor, and receiving glowing reviews all over the culinary community without exception) in the middle of Fitzrovia, central London, and we did not regret our choice.
The interior and exterior design already instil a warm, understated, pleasant atmosphere when you enter the tiny dining room from its Foley Street entrance, and despite the lack of space, narrow paths between the tables, and direct proximity to your neighbours and their conversations, we felt thoroughly comfortable. The waiters and waitresses are very friendly and immediately made us feel welcome and at ease, even though, in our experience on that day, they might not have been extremely well trained, but that’s ok (remember, ‘seaside town’ not Ritz-themed).
We had frito misto of Dorset squid and monkfish cheeks with malt vinegar mayonnaise (slightly too much batter, in our world the best frito mistos are the ones where the breadcrumbs are so sparse you can spot the little bits of happiness underneath) and a gigantic Scottish langoustine and haggis raviolo in a low layer of shellfish bisque, and were very pleased with both, in particular the raviolo, what an unusual combination, but it worked real well.
As mains we had Bouillabaisse and the roast Peterhead cod and fennel glazed duck (another extremely rare combination that made our taste buds explode in bliss) on celeriac puree, puy lentils and Bordelaise sauce. Nearly everything was prepared to perfection with the best and freshest ingredients. On a small side note (!), we should mention, that one of the mussels in the Bouillabaisse had not opened fully and tasted a tad off and there were a number of broken clam shells in the soup, but considering the exciting feats achieved by the chef and his team with regards to the other aspects, this did not diminish our pleasure by a significant margin. We were also very pleased with the generous size of the dishes.
It should also be said that the waitress recommended a (unknown to me) very fruity, light red wine as replacement for the heavy, dark, full-bodied, dry Rioja we had ordered but which they had run out of. My wife turned out to be a fan of this completely different variety of red wine, so I’m not going to be disappointed with Bonnie Gull to pick just the right wine for her (even though I did find it hard to get much out of the wine).
I’m not big on desserts, but my wife was also blown away by her sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream.
We like the fact that this restaurant celebrates local British ingredients and has a large chalk board map on the wall where each day they add the names of the ingredients next to the location where they were sourced. We’ll definitely be back sometime soon and maybe try out their Soho venue.