January 2016: Former Le Caprice head chef Andrew McLay joins J Sheekey and J Sheekey Oyster Bar as head chef.
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“Nothing makes me happier than sitting up at this beautiful bar, and having a range of oysters and a glass of champagne!” – This “indulgent” Theatreland rendezvous “combines a relaxed tone with a fizzing vibe” and provides “a hard-to-beat selection of shellfish”. The recent rebranding and launch under a new name rightly underlines its distinctive appeal to the adjacent main restaurant.
“Slurping down quality oysters perched on a stool – is there a better way of spending an evening?” Not according to many devotees of the “brilliant”, “friendly” and “glamorous” bar attached to the adjacent “doyenne of seafood restaurants”.
Expansion has done nothing to dim the charms of this “fabulous” bar attached to the Theatreland legend, where “simply outstanding fish dishes” are “efficiently” served perched at a stool around the glamorous and supremely “buzzy” bar.
It’s “pure gastronomic theatre” to grab a high stool in the Theatreland legend’s “less formal” bar – many reporters prefer its combination of “real glamour” and “divine, simple but perfect seafood” to the full -blown experience next door.
J Sheekey Atlantic Bar Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Very disappointing experience at an outside table at the Atlantic bar. As a regular diner there and at J Sheekey's I was shocked by the bill of £154 including service for 2 courses with wine. The service was poor and the place had the air of one resting in its laurels."
"Sat outside on a summer's day. Very good food, good service. Bit pricey but worth it."
"The room joining the bar is less attractive than sitting at the bar itself."
"Expensive but almost worth it."
J Sheekey Oyster Bar WC2
A very smart and comfortable oyster (and light meal) bar, attached to the famous Theatreland fish restaurant; standards are high, but so are prices - for a place that's pitched as an all-day stand-by, we can't help finding them just a bit OTT.
Richard Caring, as we all know, seems to have infinite amounts of money - yes, still! - and he continues to pour a part at least of his fortune into the Caprice group. Apart from the eponymous restaurant near the Ritz, that group also owns such luminary establishments as the Ivy (which recently sprung a plush club offshoot) and Scott's.
The latest embellishment to the group is a new all-day walk-in oyster bar adjacent to Londoners' favourite fish restaurant, J Sheekey. Although intimate in scale, it is glamorously decorated in a Scott's-writ-small sort of way, and very comfortable with it.
There were half a dozen types of oyster available the day we visited. We had six excellent classically-presented rock oysters, an unadorned crab bake, just one glass of one of the cheapest wines, a savoury (cheaper than a pud), and a good espresso. Our bill? - almost £40.
That's already getting pricey for a modest meal in a supposedly informal rendezvous. If we'd had a couple of glasses around the more normal - £9! - sort of level, and some pricier native oysters, our bill for not much of a meal would easily have been around the £60 mark' for one. That's too much. You can have a slap-up lunch, booze included, at Le Gavroche for not much more than that.
As a cosy all-day light eatery, hidden away in the heart of the West End, the attractions of this high-quality newcomer are obvious. It's a shame, then, to undercut all this with prices which -Â even making all the obvious allowances - are, at least for out taste, just a touch too rich.
28-34 St Martin’s Ct, London, WC2N 4AL
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Mon to Fri: 12pm - 3pm / 5pm - 12 Midnight Sat: 12 noon - 3pm / 5.15pm - 12 midnight Sun: 12 noon - 3.30pm / 5.30pm - 10.30pm
Last orders: 11.30 pm, Sun 10.30 pm