Restaurants are always opening in London and many close only months later. But you can tell the really good ones…they’re the ones that have been around for years and are still packed to the rafters most nights. J Sheekey is one such London institution having held it’s spot in Covent Garden for over 100 years serving the best seafood in town! It’s part of the Caprice Group, and quite frankly their restaurants always deliver and have done for years.
Slightly newer on the Sheekey scene is the Atlantic Bar, a more informal space that spills out on to a terrace on St Martin’s Court, the perfect place for summer dining. Small dogs are welcome too! On one such balmy London night Lauren and I met up to try the new summer menu featuring dishes from the Atlantic and beyond – the kind of dishes that get you in the mood for summer what ever the weather.
With such a wide selection of champagne on the menu, it would be rude not to have a glass, it is the perfect accompaniment for the seafood that the restaurant is famous for. We also admired the menu designed by cartoonist Kipper Williams to celebrate the launch of the terrace.
J Sheekey has been one of my favourite restaurants for years, and the bread basket is something that I always look forward to here. A selection of multi-grain, white and a crisp bread served with creamy butter doesn’t sound like something to shout about, but just wait until you try it. The new dishes on the J Sheekey Atlantic Bar summer menu are perfect for sharing and as Lauren and I basically like all the same food, ordering was easy.
Despite it’s traditional history, dishes at J Sheekey are always changing and with the current trend for poke it’s now on the menu. Tasting like Hawaiian sunshine, I loved this fresh dish combining Ahi tuna, peppered pineapple, avocado and sesame. Honestly it does seem kind of wrong to eat pineapple with a savoury dish but it really does work so well, something I’d highly recommend ordering.
There are very few non-seafood dishes on the menu here so it’s probably a menu best avoided if you’re allergic or averse to seafood. This tomato and basil salad with burrata is one of the only vegetarian dishes (though there are a few more if you’re dining à la carte in the main restaurant) and it’s absolutely delicious! Perfect on the side of all that fabulous seafood and very well seasoned.
I’m a big fan of the zesty flavours of ceviche and it was great to see it on the menu in the raw section. The stone bass ceviche came with a piquant tiger milk dressing, we chose to have it minus the plantain chips, the perfect summer dish.
In terms of wine, there’s a focus on coastal wines, to bring the breeze of the ocean to the narrow streets of London. This rosé from Provence reminded me of my trip there last year, and I don’t think I’ve tried better, this particularly wine is made especially for J. Sheekey.
There’s a really tempting selection of hot plates too and everything looks so good that it’s hard to know what to choose. These grilled prawns introduced flavours from Morocco to our seafood feast they’re served with a cool, refreshing lemon yogurt with pistachio.
Which paired beautifully with a South African Chenin Blanc.
Tiger prawn tempura was perfectly crisp and not the least bit greasy – a great choice for a slightly more substantial dish on the menu.
Though we were eating small plates, I would have loved a bigger portion of the squid with chilli as it’s my favourite thing on the main menu at J Sheekey. Next time I’ll just have to order two!
Whole pan-fried Cornish Sole had a beautiful smokey char of brown butter and the flesh was cooked to absolute perfection. Though we’d ordered a fair amount, everything was well portioned and light, meaning we didn’t feel about to explode at the end. If none of these dishes float you boat, the iconic J Sheekey fish pie is also on the menu or the classic deep fried fish goujons which could be ordered with some fries for a casual evening meal. There were also plenty of people dining by themselves at the terrace, it’s just one of those places where you’ll always feel comfortable and welcomed.
Our lovely waiter bought over a little extra to try and these fairly simple parmesan courgette fritters with tomato relish were one of our favourite dishes of the night. It’s not on the Atlantic Bar terrace menu but with great service and flexibility here I’m sure they’d be happy to bring it from the main restaurant.
For dessert honeycomb ice cream caught our eye and we decided to order one between us, eagerly anticipating the delicious dessert as chocolate sauce was drizzled across the top.
It’s no wonder that J Sheekey has been on the scene for so long, I’ve never had a bad meal there and long may it continue to serve such fantastic seafood!
28 – 32 St Martin’s Court
020 7240 2565
Our dinner was complimentary