Posts for the 'Seafood' Category


One-O-One Restaurant

One-O-One Restaurant situated at 101 (yes) Knightsbridge is merely a stone’s throw away from the glamorous retail shops of Knightsbridge. Specialising in seafood, it probably has the unfortunate distinction of having one of the ugliest restaurant frontages in London. It’s attached to the Sheraton Park Towers, a monstrosity of a grey building that dates back to the 1970s. The interior of the restaurant fares better than its exterior but is quite formal and somewhat soulless. But what is attractive about the restaurant is that it has received a variety of accolades including recognition as the Fifth Best Restaurant in Great Britain in The 2012 Sunday Times’ Food List.

Also attractive about One-O-One is that it seems to regularly offer discounts through TopTable that makes a dining experience at the restaurant much more affordable as their prices are high. Starters range between £11 and £28 and mains between £28 and £39. My booking provided for a fabulous 40% off, but I pity the poor tourist souls who stay at the hotel and have no knowledge of this insider’s tip and simply walk into the restaurant to pay full price.

The meal kicked off with an amuse bouche of salmon rillette with croutons that was very good. The rillette was pleasant with a nice salmon flavour and nicely creamy.

Salmon rillette with garlic croutons

Salmon rillette with garlic croutons

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Scott’s Mayfair

Scott’s Mayfair prides itself on seafood, but it also has a certain reputation as a ‘go-to’ restaurant for the celebs, with sightings of the likes of Madonna, Shakira, Cheryl Cole and Stella McCartney often being reported. And then there’s Nigella. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read about Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi having dinner at Scott’s the night before in the tabloids.

It’s perhaps for this reason that it is virtually impossible to get a reservation at Scott’s. I know because I’ve tried a number of times. But what I discovered recently was this – it is not difficult to get a reservation at the bar. Having first asked for a table and being told it was full, I decided to try to see if I could book a space at the bar. Success ensued and we rock up at 8pm on a Friday night to discover that low and behold, there was a table free for us. In fact there were a few free tables, not many, but a few. I am not clear whether Scott’s maintains a policy of not taking reservations to keep them free for celebs in case they just turn up, or whether the restaurant does it to maintain an air of exclusivity. Either way, I didn’t find it particularly Kosher. But now you know a way in should you decide to go.

I’ve been to Scott’s before, about six years ago, and I absolutely loved that meal. The food was fabulous and the experience proved pretty faultless. My recollections were of a restaurant that epitomised old-school glamour with a gentile top-hatted doorman who welcomed us into the oak paneled dining room. I’ve had an itch to go back ever since to recapture that experience. The doorman remains, and the décor didn’t look to have changed much, but somehow the restaurant felt a little tired compared to how I remembered it from before.

The menu offers a decent range of options, including a variety of oysters, caviar, shellfish, and smoked fish as part of the starters. For mains, there’s also a variety of cooked fish and meats for the choosing.
We went for the mixed oysters with wild boar sausages. Normally this is priced at £19.50 for six and includes a mixture of the cheaper oysters. We asked for a different selection of oysters, two of each of the West Mersea Natives No 2, Gillardeau specials and Fines de Claire that came in at a higher cost of £24.50 (including the sausage). They were pleasant enough, but their flavour wasn’t punchy enough to justify their price tag. The oysters at Wright Brothers are better and cheaper. The accompanying wild boar sausages were very tasty though.

Mixed oysters

Mixed oysters

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Loch Fyne Covent Garden

Loch Fyne offer an online seafood and larder ordering service and is probably best known for the oysters that they grow naturally in the waters of Loch Fyne, Scotland. Loch Fyne works closely with the Marine Conservation Society and uses only sustainable methods for farming. The oysters feed on plankton and no artificial feed is used. In addition to the oysters, Loch Fyne also farm a variety of fish, again using only sustainable methods. Their fish stocks are also topped up by their wild fish catches that are landed from the waters off Cornwall and the South-West.

The online business is only one part of what Loch Fyne do. In addition, they also operate 42 seafood restaurants throughout the UK. There are two in London, one of which is on Catherine Street in the theatre heart of Covent Garden. The restaurant has a charming brasserie feel to it and oozes warmth and congeniality. At the back of the restaurant is a seafood counter that displays the seafood of the day. It’s a really good way of checking out the freshness of your seafood before your order.

Seafood bar

Seafood bar

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Bentley’s Sea Grill – Harrods

Bentley's Sea Grill

Bentley’s Sea Grill

Bentley’s on Swallow Street near Piccadilly Circus has been serving the masses since 2005 and is particularly well known for its oyster bar. A Richard Corrigan restaurant, there is also a formal dining area upstairs known as The Grill.

Such has been the success of Bentley’s, an offshoot recently opened in the food hall at Harrods. Known as Bentley’s Sea Grill, it operates a bar service with tall stools perched around the marble countertop. This is the latest addition to Harrods which already has a wealth of eating options including Galvin Demoiselle Petit Bistro.

Bentley's Sea Grill

Bentley’s Sea Grill

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The Wright Brothers – Soho Oyster House

As its name suggests, The Wright Brothers Soho Oyster House is a seafood restaurant with a predominant emphasis on oysters. Located on Kingly Street in the Carnaby area, it is well located for the shopping pleasures of the independent boutiques and designer brand shops of this famous area. Carnaby also plays home to a string of other tasty restaurants such as Dehesa and Cinnamon Soho, and the boutique cake shop Choccywoccydoodah.

Wrights Brothers Soho Oyster House is arranged over three floors with a lovely inviting atmosphere. There is an open plan ‘raw bar’ on the ground floor that looks over Kingly Court, banquette seating upstairs and a communal dining area on the lower ground floor.

There is a decent range of oysters at The Wright Brothers, all of which are sourced from the Duchy Oyster Farm on the Helford River in Cornwall and other farms in the British Isles and France. Colchester oysters (3 for £6.50) were fat and intensely irony. In contrast, the Lindisfarne oysters from Northumberland (3 for £6) were milky and creamy. Wrights Brothers also offer a choice of oysters with toppings, one of which was caviar and crème fraiche (3 for £12). Using the Carlingford oysters from County Louth, Ireland, the combination of the topping with the creaminess of the Carlingfords proved a good match. All the oysters were delicious.

Oysters & prawns

Oysters & prawns

Oysters & caviar

Oysters & caviar

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Burger and Lobster

Lobster

Lobster

The concept at Burger and Lobster is really simple. Serve a limited range of dishes which ensures freshness and speedy delivery. Overheads can be kept lower due to less wastage and purchasing economies of scale. These savings can then be passed onto the customer in the way of very affordable meals. This in turn draws in the crowds who know that they are getting a good deal. Add on a no reservations policy so the crowds will have to order drinks at the bar while they wait for a table. Genius! I just wish I had thought of it.

Brilliant business model aside, Burger and Lobster really does offer up a good thing. The owners are the people from the popular steakhouse Goodman, and as you can tell by the name it only serves burgers and lobsters, all of which are priced at £20. There is no menu and the lobster comes as either a lobster roll or a whole lobster, steamed or grilled, and with a choice of two sauces. And if you are particularly hungry, an extra £10 affords you a 2 kilo lobster rather than the standard 1.5 kilo option. All meals come with salads and fries.

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The Fish Place

It has to be said that eating in a restaurant with no other guests feels rather odd – it makes for a deathly quiet experience. That is what happened to me when I visited The Fish Place as a guest of the restaurant recently. It opened in the middle of November, and is situated in a rather obscure spot, right near the heliport in Battersea overlooking the Thames. It’s pretty tricky to find, and the best way seems to be to look for the Hotel Verta and head to the left of it (you’ll get what I mean if you ever decide to go and look for the restaurant). I imagine not being on some major thoroughfare, its newness, and the fact that it was bitterly cold when I went were the reasons behind the zilch guest list.

But let’s talk about the food. As you probably guessed, this is a seafood restaurant. For the first amuse bouche, we had the fish veloute with pernod and parsley cream which is also listed as a starter on the menu. Thick and creamy, this was really lovely and nicely reduced to produce a good strong flavour of seafood.

Fish veloute

Fish veloute

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Sydney Fish Markets

Sydney Fish Markets

Sydney Fish Markets

Today I met with some friends for lunch at the Sydney Fish Markets. A true Sydney institution, it ranks as the second largest fish markets in terms of variety in the world, thereby reflecting Australia’s status as a leading seafood nation. The largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world is the fish market in Tokyo, the Tsukiji.

Lobster, salmon & tuna fillets

Lobster, salmon & tuna fillets

I love the Sydney Fish Markets. It was an integral part of my childhood as my father was quite strict about eating only fresh seafood. No fish was ever eaten from being refrigerated overnight, only if purchased fresh on the day. So as we ate fish about three to four times a week, this would entail quite regular visits to the Sydney Fish Markets. Especially popular in my household were those occasions when we would buy live mud crabs which my father would then stir-fry with chilli, ginger, garlic, spring onions and all things nice.

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