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 – even making all the obvious allowances – are, at least for out taste, just a touch too rich.