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Shell out on shellfish at The Seafood Bar

Dutch sensation The Seafood Bar has opened its first international restaurant in Dean Street – and diners will not be disappointed

The Seafood Bar

Sebastian the Crab wouldn’t be much good at origami but the tomato-coloured crustacean boasted the best tune in The Little Mermaid – I’m referring of course to Under The Sea, his paen to life below the waves. I bet you’re already humming the tune.

Sample lyric: We what the land folks loves to cook / Under the sea we off the hook / We got no troubles / Life is the bubbles / Under the sea.

The first line is bang on but unfortunately for Sebastian we have these things called fishing boats and we will catch you, kill you and serve you up on a delicious fruits de mer platter. Count yourself lucky: Flounder’s getting fried.

Places (Plaices? No, I’m better than that) such as The Seafood Bar should be cherished by those of us who aren't cartoon crabs. Dutch fishmonger Fons de Visscher opened the first iteration in 2012 and now, nine years, multiple awards and three additional sites later, The Seafood Bar has gone international by opening a restaurant on Dean Street.

Located within a beautiful 1730 Grade II listed Georgian townhouse, The Seafood Bar’s crisp white interiors are as clean as the produce on your plate. As Dutch exports go, this one should travel significantly better than clogs. Sorry Sebastian.

(OK, I lied in the opening paragraph: Under The Sea isn’t the best tune in The Little Mermaid, hell, it isn’t even the best Sebastian tune – both are obviously Kiss The Girl, an all-time classic – but sometimes you need to take the odd creative liberty in service of your introduction, and there aren’t any songs to crib from Finding Nemo.)

The Seafood Bar

What to eat?

Um… take a wild guess. The menu is awash with watery goodness, all served fresh and sourced sustainably. However, if you want to go full baller, your best option is the fruits de mer, a literal tower of shellfish and salmon so wonderfully excessive it would make your average Guardian journalist immediately transition to Wall Street.

What’s on here? Most of the ocean is what’s on here. We’re talking: cockles, mussels, oysters, clams, brown shrimps, salmon, crab, periwinkles, shrimps, Northern prawn, seafood salad, seaweed salad, langoustines, prawns and half a lobster. They offer you a napkin for the lobster for added decadence. (Although personally, I would have appreciated a crown, even if only a cardboard one.)

If you fancy something a bit warmer, then opt for the mixed grill: shrimp, squid, slip sole, king prawn, salmon, sea bass fillet and, yes, half a lobster. It’s not quite as ‘I Live In A Penthouse Apartment’ as the fruits de mer but this may be a positive, depending on your life outlook. Neither option will leave you disappointed.

Oh, and there are four separate types of oysters and if you don’t order a platter then we are no longer friends.

The Seafood Bar
The Seafood Bar

What to drink?

There’s an extensive wine list that unsurprisingly prioritises white wine and champagne, although there are a handful of reds for undercover Soviet assassins. (A joke for my James Bond fans out there.)

White wine starts at £25 per bottle and runs all the way up to £127.50: punchy but by no means prohibitive. My glass of Pinot Grigio went down very nicely indeed. There are also a selection of cocktails both boozy and non-alcoholic if you want to make an evening of it.

What’s the damage?

You can dine out for cheaper in the capital but the sight of the bill shouldn’t cause you to curse Poseidon. The grill is £35, while the fruits de mer is £49.50 for one or £87.50 for two (The Seafood Bar really likes its 50ps).

The latter especially is a pretty damn good deal when you consider you’re eating like royalty for less than £50 a head – or just above £50 a head if you add six oysters for £17.50 which obviously you should.

A single lobster will set you back £32.50 – less than half the price of many London restaurants for an almost certainly superior product. Perhaps even better value than the fruits de mer albeit significantly less fun.

Anything else to note?

Delicious yet also healthy? Seafood really is elite. Neptune, Arial, Marlin, Flipper, Paul the Octopus – your boys took one hell of an eating.

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77 Dean St, W1D 3SH; The Seafood Bar

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