Finding fresh fish in London is like shooting them in a barrel, but a little research goes a long way in separating the good from the best. Although not on the coast, the best restaurants are now shipping amazingly fresh produce up to the capital daily. Here are our IDEAL picks for the freshest seafood cooked with flair and precision in London.
Outlaw’s at the Capital
Nathan Outlaw is often called the best fish chef in the world and it’s easy to see why – his approach is one of utter respect for the ingredient, pure and simple. He sources the best quality seafood money can buy and cooks it with clarity, with supporting acts only allowed to grace the plate if they serve to elevate the main event. His London outpost reflects this ethos perfectly, with a regularly changing menu dependent on season as well as the daily catch from head chef Tom Brown’s native Cornwall. Outlaw’s lobster risotto with orange and basil is the stuff of legend and the restaurant’s way with turbot – usually roasted on the bone with a simple butter sauce – is sensational. One of our favourite places to eat fish, period.
One of London’s oldest and most famous restaurants, Scotts, located in Mayfair, is not for those on a budget. Often, you get what you pay for where fish is concerned and this place serves premium product, often served very simply over ice, by the bucket-load. In the centre of the room is their famous oyster bar, and you’d be mad not to eat a few while you were here. One for a special occasion, certainly, but worth every penny if fish is your thing.
Hix Oyster and Chop House
Mark Hix knows his oysters. He’s written books about them. His Oyster and Chop house is frequently named as one of London’s favourite places to eat oysters. Though the oysters are certainly worth the visit alone, we would recommend the cockle popcorn as well as the owner’s own brand Hix Oyster Ale, the perfect accompaniment to all that slippery saline nourishment.
Wright Brothers Borough Market
Borough Market is an exciting place to be for lovers of the shelled species. The Wright Brothers have five outposts over the city, spanning from West to East and North to South, but their place in the market is our favourite. There is a buzz any day of the week, with clinking glasses of bubbly and lively chatter vibrating through the establishment. Refreshingly lacking in starched white formality, Wright Brothers lets the seafood take centre stage, where it quite rightly belongs.
Not so much precision, but a lot of flair – this hip hop themed Fish ’n’ Chip restaurant in Brixton seems an odd proposition, but try telling that to the hugely mixed clientele of old and young attending this place with regularity and enthusiasm. It may seem odd to see your elderly grandfather dunking chips in homemade mushy peas whilst his foot slyly taps along to Biggy, but the quality of the cooking and bargain price will certainly bring him back for another visit.