Oh I do like to be beside the seaside . . .

. . . or as near to the seaside as one can be in central London!

Tom and I have a habit of sending each other restaurant, pub and cafe reviews and recommendations nearly every day but we struggle to make the time to go to them; they usually just get added to the ever-increasing wish list. Last week Tom sent me a link to the Bonnie Gull, a seafood shack/restaurant/oyster bar not far from work. We decided we’d go with the excuse that it had just been my birthday so we would treat ourselves!

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The idea behind the Bonnie Gull is that everything they serve has been caught that day; there’s a map on the wall where they pinpoint the source of your fish. Originally a pop-up, the guys behind the Bonnie decided to set up shop permanently, bringing a little bit of the seaside to central London.

With its striped blue and white awnings and white wooden chairs and tables you can easily imagine the Bonnie Gull sitting comfortably looking out over Croyde Bay or Saunton Sands (reference to holidays past, spent down on the Devon coastline with my family).

We started with oysters. I always have to psych myself up when it comes to eating an oyster; I know it will be delicious when it comes to it but I still have to get over the fear of eating it! These didn’t disappoint, they were so fresh and tasty and well worth my initial mild panic!

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Tom then had queenies which were something new – they’re like small scallops and were served raw – they melted in the mouth and were full of flavour! I started with one of my all time favourites, mussels with a light cider, bacon and cream broth and some amazing bread – perfect for mopping up the cider!

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For my main I plumped for the much-loved classic, fish and chips. These weren’t just any chips however, they were beef dripping chips and they were deliciously crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The haddock was nicely battered and the mushy peas and spicy Shack Ketchup were equally tasty. Tom decided to try John Dory and it looked and tasted so good, it was quite a meaty fish and the sauce it was served with was really nice.

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I could probably have managed one of the delicious sounding desserts but not to appear too piggy we decided to just share the cheeseboard instead! Needless to say this was also really tasty and rounded off a great dinner!

I am going again in a few weeks and am excited to see what fish and shellfish will be on the menu that day – I can’t wait!

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A Very Gastronomic Week – Part 1

Last week it was Tom’s birthday and to celebrate we had quite the gastronomic week! On Monday we went to one of our favourite restaurants – Lily’s Seafood, Grill and Bar which is just off Clapham Common and on Thursday I took Tom to Maze, Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant on Grosvenor Square. Both meals were absolutely delicious and so I am going to write a post about each, starting with our meal at Lily’s.

Our first taste of the food at Lily’s was last year at Jamie Oliver’s Feastival on Clapham Common. Loads of restaurants and food outlets were there, dishing up their specialities and Lily’s offered mackerel and salmon along with delicious home-made bread and butter. It was a simple taste but the fish was so fresh and the flavours so good that it really worked well, and we decided we definitely had to go there for dinner sometime.

Tom at the Feastival!

Lily’s is great for seafood but it also does a delicious chicken escalope and tasty pasta dishes, so even if you’re not a fish fan I’d definitely recommend it! Their speciality dish is probably their seafood platter – a two-tiered, ice filled platter which comes full of fresh fish – mussels, clams, prawns, mackerel, half a crab and half a lobster, along with bread and dipping oils and butter. Normally we wouldn’t be able to afford this dish, and we usually look longingly at it as it goes past to other diners, but luckily for us, Groupon were doing a deal, the seafood platter for half price – suffice it to say, Tom and I leapt at the chance!

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We ordered some french fries to go with it and then got stuck in! I’d never had lobster before and wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but I am now without a doubt a massive lobster fan! It was fresh and full of flavour, similar to crayfish but sweeter and meatier – it was utterly delicious!

The service at Lily’s was really nice, they didn’t fuss over you and keep coming back asking if everything was alright with the meal, and when I told them it was Tom’s birthday they put a candle in his dessert for him and everyone wished him a Happy Birthday. We always enjoy our food at Lily’s and this meal was no exception! Hopefully Groupon will do another seafood platter deal soon!