The murky water of the Thames might not look the most appealing, but it is in fact teeming with fish from salmon to trout and even eel – and London certainly loves its fish. With a whole hoard of brilliant seafood restaurants to choose from, not necessarily serving up fish from the Thames we hasten to add, The Handbook has a shoal of the best London has to offer:
Best for choice: Simply Fish
If you are one of those people who look at a menu and love the look of a dish but wish it was poached not steamed, and you would really like salmon but would rather it was with a lemon sauce not a béarnaise sauce, then look no further than Simply Fish. As the name suggests it’s simply serving up excellent fish without being pretentious, and it’s very affordable. Based in Camden, Head Chef, Sherrif Hassan is giving diners the ability to tailor their meal to their exact requirements, being able to choose their fish, the way it is cooked, the sauce and accompaniments. For those who are also looking to cook fish at home, then the tips on the website are fantastic too.
Best for fish and chips: Kerbisher & Malt
Fish and chips are quintessentially British, they are synonymous with the summer, but rather than venturing to a nostalgic seaside town for classic fish and chips, head to Kerbisher & Malt. With two shops in the Hammersmith the area, Kerbisher & Malt are a modern take on the fish and chip shop, doing away with frozen chips and a grease overload and letting diners eat in or takeaway! Their attitude and passion towards cooking good old fashioned fish and chips have won them a whole hoard of great reviews and we think deservedly so.
Best for private dining: Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill
Arguably one of London’s oldest Oyster Bars, Bentley’s Oyster Bar has been going since 1916, now under the watchful eye of Richard Corrigan, the bar still pays homage to its long history by using its original marble topped bar. With three rooms available for private dining it is perfect for a party and if you are looking to put on an intimate dinner then The Crustacea Room is brilliant. Seating up to 14 guests, the room is located on the first floor and features art from Richard Corrigan’s personal collection as well as William Morris style curtains. Diners can opt to dine from several menus but we think the six course tasting menu which is exclusively seafood is an excellent choice!
Best for fresh fish: Bonnie Gull
Born out of pop up Seafood Shack in Hackney, Bonnie Gull is a testament to the glorious flavour of fresh fish. They are normally not open on a Monday, because as they say, ‘it ain’t great day for fresh fish’ (although starting next Monday they will be offering a meat only menu). The menu which features a raw bar, changes almost daily depending on what the fishermen have caught, the seasonality of the produce and the weather, which all means you know you are getting the freshest fish the British shores can offer, and you are never stuck for choice. A favourite addition, for many, is the map on the wall which locates exactly where the fish has been caught.
Best for sushi: SUSHISAMBA
Founded in New York, SUSHISAMBA is the fusion of Peruvian, Brazilian and Japanese cuisine and last year it came to London. Situated in Heron’s Tower, the menu is sushi heaven and features a mix of small plates, large plates, sashimi seviche and tiradito, nigiri a separate seafood section and our favourites samba rolls, check out Samba London: crab, tuna, salmon, yellowtail, prawn, scallops, wagyu, avocado, tempura crunch, wasabi, mayo, aji panca and a housemade soy reduction. Oh, and the other brilliant thing about SUSHISAMBA? The views over London and the Gherkin are absolutely stunning.
Best for decadence: Scott’s
There is still something rather decadent about eating oysters, and Scott’s in Mayfair is a restaurant that knows this. The restaurant, like its strong A list clientele, effortlessly exudes glamour, its art deco private dining room is styled with contemporary artwork co-curated by Timothy Taylor Gallery and Sadie Coles HQ and the restaurant also features a marble topped seafood bar and fish scale mosaic on the floor. The seafood is equally as sumptuous with oysters, caviar, smoked fish and crustacea and molluscs gracing the menu.