We first went to Bonnie Gull’s fishy shack, the brainchild of chef Christian Edwardson, at its Exmouth Market opening – and left only medium-impressed. The food was decent enough, but, on a street synonymous with stand-out restaurants for over twenty years, it didn’t feel like it was going to run the distance.
It didn’t. However, the group’s new incarnation in deepest Soho has nailed it: perched on cute Bateman Street, once home to the mighty BYO Italian trattoria Lorelei (complete with outside toilet), there’s a tiny slither of a counter, a sizzling open kitchen and a small menu of fishy dishes.Things we liked? Oh, pretty much everything. Delicately opaque scallop is paired with green tomato, gin and tangy cubes of apple and gin, while lobster comes with sweet heritage tomato and fennel. Better still was soft, translucent cured pollock with splatters of yoghurt and grapefruit. And unexpectedly fine? Blackened sardines with the earthy watercress, fennel and a spiky lemon aioli.
There’s friendly, low-key service all the way, too, from the moment we added our name to the list (yes, it’s one of those places) to sitting down 45 minutes later. Tastier than almost anything you may eat at the real seaside this summer? Very possibly.
Main photo: Hannah Miles