Harden's survey result
“Unfailing, first class, and in the heart of Theatreland” – Richard Caring’s “wonderfully old-school” icon (est. 1896) has long been the survey’s No. 1 most talked-about destination as well as its top choice for fish and seafood. Tucked away, down an alley just off St Martin’s Lane, you navigate your way in past a uniformed doorman. The tantalisingly-translucent frontage only gives hints of the “classic” interior beyond with its “feeling of bygone glamour”: a series of “compact” panelled rooms , which “feature wood, brass, glass, and vintage photos of stage stars”, all presided over by “very professional” staff. The effect is “intimate” (“albeit a bit cramped”) and the atmosphere is “always buzzing” (if, occasionally, “to the wrong side of hectic”). The “traditional”, “comfort-fish” cuisine is “not inventive nor innovative”, “but always of the highest quality”. “New ingredients like harissa enliven an otherwise static menu, but if the formula works, why change it?” “The fish pie and and seafood platter remain classics”, while “Dover sole is served in umpteen different ways with on/off bone options”. Despite expansion (with the addition of the neighbouring Atlantic Bar), “it has maintained remarkable standards for years and years”.
“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.
J Sheekey Restaurant Diner Reviews
"It’s as good as ever!"
"Such a wonderful institution "
"The freshest of fish, the iconic panelled dining room, the welcoming staff, nothing has changed; a treat."
"Great seafood although bit cramped"
|Wine per bottle||£30.00|
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|