The Seafood Bar, Dean Street

The blurb

All the way from the Netherlands comes The Seafood Bar, bringing a taste of the North Sea to the bustling city of London. The first restaurant opened in 2012 in Amsterdam, after respected fishmonger of 27 years, Fons de Visscher, decided to share his passion for fresh fish and great wines by creating a place for people to come together and taste the best the Netherlands has to offer. Expect out-of-this-world seafood platters, four different types of oysters and an extensive wine list to match.

The Style

Minimalist, sophisticated, fresh: these are the three words I’d use to describe The Seafood Bar. Its mat blue exterior doesn’t give much away, in fact, you may miss it if you weren’t looking for it. However, once you’re inside, there’s no mistaking where you are: a Nordic fishmongers. Well, not quite, but as close as you’ll get in London. The seafood is displayed on ice for all to see: lobster, oysters, cockles, prawns, mussels and more. The walls, tables and chairs are all crisp white, keeping the restaurant fresh and light – I always think of seafood platters being synonymous with a sunny seaside and glass of crisp white wine. Had the decor been dark, I think the experience could be very different. Tables are a variety of sizes, but if you can, go for a corner booth and enjoy the comfy seats.

The Crowd

As with many places in London, anything goes. On the evening that I dined, it was full of families, friends and couples on date nights. I think this place is still working up its reputation, as it’s a rather new concept to London, but if the reviews I’ve seen are anything to go by it won’t be long until this becomes number one on any seafood-lovers list.

The Food

Once seated at our table we were given fresh bread, served in a brown paper bag (a nice touch) and a cocktail. I had a fancy gin and tonic with rosemary and grapefruit, while my friend – ever the sophisticated – had an espresso martini. To start, we shared the sea bass ceviche, followed by the gratinated scallops, which were served in the shell. The seabass was delicately cured and dotted with finely chopped red pepper, shallots, and coriander. It was light, fresh… delicious. The scallops were perfectly cooked, surrounded by an oozing cheesy sauce and topped with breadcrumbs – one each wasn’t enough.

We couldn’t visit The Seafood Bar and not have one of the famous seafood platters. They offer three varieties, one with a cold selection, another grilled and one a combination of both. Eager to try a bit of everything, we had the ‘Combination Seafood Platter’, which came piled high with some of the best treats the ocean has to offer. On the iced bottom layer, we had mussels, cockles, razor clams, brown shrimps, vongole (clams), periwinkle, a seafood salad, Devon brown crab, and oysters. On the top, fresh off the grill, we had a whole lobster, shrimp, mussels, squid, sole, sea bass fillet (with perfectly crispy skin), and salmon, all served in a tomato sauce. It really was quite the platter. All the fish was cooked to perfection, and the portions incredibly generous. The lobster was meaty and juicy, the mussels some of the biggest I’ve eaten in London. Personally, I could do without the periwinkles and the brown shrimps as they’re unpeeled, and while you can eat the soft shell… I’d rather not. To wash the wonderful platter down we had a beautiful bottle of Grande Reserve Premier Cru Champagne – I thought I’d upgrade from my usual glass of ‘crisp white wine’.

A meal must always end on a sweet note, so we shared the chocolate mousse. It was made of four layers: a very thin cake base, a rich chocolate mousse, a second light, vanilla mousse, and finally, a chocolate sauce. It was gone within a matter of seconds and we immediately regretted ordering just one.

In a Nutshell

You don’t have to be a lover of shellfish to enjoy The Seafood Bar, but you do have to be a lover of fish (sorry carnivores, this one’s not for you). Aside from the wonderful platters, there’s also the restaurant’s take on fish and chips, a variety of grilled fish, and of course flowing caviar and champagne. The menu also has suggested wine pairings next to each item, if you really wanted to indulge in the full ‘Seafood Bar experience’.

The Details

77 Dean Street, London

Restaurants |