Harden's survey result
“A proper, old-school London tradition that never fails” – Richard Caring’s “beautiful and iconic” Theatreland classic (est. 1896) remains both the survey’s No.1 most-talked-about destination and also its top choice for fish. You approach its intriguing etched-glass façade via a Dickensian alley, off St Martin’s Lane, and once inside, navigate a succession of “charming”, “old-fashioned small rooms” presided over by “slick” and “professional” staff. There’s “a great buzz” – almost “too noisy” – and even if “tables are a little close for a private conversation”, it is “particularly enjoyable for late, relaxing dinners after a show”. When it comes to the “traditional” cuisine, “they are not trying to reinvent the wheel” – “dishes are not particularly delicate, creative or ambitious, but they are generous”, “not overly mucked-about-with”, and “showcase the quality of the produce on the plate”. The wide-ranging menu of “fish and seafood galore” delivers “all you could want from the oceans!”, but it’s the down-to-earth “brilliant, warming, rich and comforting fish pie” that’s actually its best-known option. Ratings were higher here five years ago, and the venue’s ongoing “expansion has not helped standards”. That said, its level of achievement has remained incredibly impressive and, on virtually all accounts, “it’s a cherished, special place”.
“Well deserving its status as a West End Institution”, Richard Caring’s “very classy” Theatreland Icon (est 1896) offers “plenty of star gazing after the theatre”, and remains both the survey’s most talked-about destination, and its No. 1 tip for fish (eclipsing its stablemate Scott’s for nominations as London’s best). Sitting in a narrow, Dickensian alleyway off St Martin’s Lane, you pass its doorman and etched-glass façade to enter a series of snug (“poky”) panelled chambers, where “white-aproned waiters deliver whip-sharp service and a menu that sings of the sea: from shellfish platters and superior classics (eg lobster thermidor) to creamy, comforting fish pie”. “Nothing is experimental or over fussy”: “it’s without fripperies, foams and smears – just perfectly sourced and cooked seafood”. The ongoing drive to expand the business (including here the September 2016 rebranding of the bar into the ‘Atlantic Bar’) seemed to put some pressure on ratings this year however, with a tiny but tangible proportion of reports saying “expansion has hit standards a bit” (hence a slight dip in grades). The general verdict however? “Always magical!”
“The kind of place that makes London special!” – Richard Caring’s “so-classy” institution (est 1896) is tucked away down a Dickensian alley “in the heart of Theatreland” and remains not only the survey’s most talked-about destination, but also its No. 1 for fish and seafood (narrowly trumping its stablemate Scott’s in nominations as London’s best). Beyond the doorman and intriguing, etched-glass façade, “congenial” staff are “amazingly well-drilled”, and the “warm and inviting” interior is “almost like an exclusive club, divided into small, oak-panelled areas”, and decorated with “black and white stills of famous actors”. Mind you, it’s “noisy”, and “you pack in like sardines!” Top Menu Tip – fish pie.
“Set in the hustle and bustle of Theatreland” – down a cute alleyway – this “star-studded”, “old-school” legend (est 1896, but dating its current celebrity to a late ’90s relaunch) is yet again London’s most talked-about destination. Nowadays owned by Richard Caring, it beat its sibling Scott’s to another crown: “the capital’s top seafood” (in particular “the world’s best fish pie”), which is “immaculately” served in a series of “old-fashioned panelled rooms” – “noisy and crowded”, but superbly “clubby” and “charismatic”.
J Sheekey Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Consistently good for food and ambience, but a noticeable dip in the level of service on our last visit."
"Lovely fish - it's not inventive innovative cooking but it's quality . The service is top notch."
"This has to be one of my favourites in London. The menu teems with seafood and fish options, which are then served up faultlessly; the service is slick, professional yet friendly; the dining room is a fantastic setting and there is a great atmosphere in there. Can't really fault it!"
28-34 St Martin’s Ct, London, WC2N 4AL
|Monday||12 pm-3 pm, 5 pm-11:30 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm-3 pm, 5 pm-11:30 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm-3 pm, 5 pm-11:30 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm-3 pm, 5 pm-11:30 pm|
|Friday||12 pm-3 pm, 5 pm-11:30 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm-3:30 pm, 5 pm-11:30 pm|
|Sunday||12 pm-3:30 pm, 5 pm-10 pm|