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28-32 St Martin's Court
“Old school dining at its best” says a devoted admirer of J Sheekey – a fondly admired veteran of the theatreland scene that is not only chic and fashionable but also democratic. With its cheerful buzz, fish “of the highest quality” and “some of the best service ever”, it invites diners to enjoy all the pleasures in a cosseting setting of leather banquettes and antique mirrors, with surrealist paintings and photos of legendary actors on the wood-panelled walls. Trawl through the menu for classics ranging from dressed crab and potted shrimps to magnificent fruits de mer and an inimitable fish pie, plus grilled halibut on the bone, fine Dover sole and lobster thermidor, but also be prepared for some daring detours – perhaps sardines marinated with harissa and pistachio dukkah or charred octopus with exotic green peppers. Fabulous puddings include crème brûlée and banoffee cheesecake, but we head straight for the Bramley apple pie and interesting tarts such as black fig with mascarpone and honey ice cream. To drink, fish-friendly wines include many Coravin selections – in short, J Sheekey is “an absolute must”.
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SquareMeal 3 Stars
28-32 St Martin's Court
Leicester Square Tube Station 113m
Charing Cross Station 281m
Wyndham's Theatre 22m
Albery Theatre 24m
Mon-Sun 12N-3pm (Sun -3.30pm) 5.30pm-12M (Sun -11pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
I recently had a business lunch here and I was pleasantly surprised. The food and most importantly the dessert was amazing. Far too often restaurants are more interested in making the most unusual dishes and over complicating things, but everything here was spot on. Make sure you try the pistachio parfait. I will definitely dine again for both business and pleasure.
Food + drink: 3
Sheekeys is epitomised in one thing on the menu: the side of “heritage potatoes”. This “heritage” thing has been cropping up (pun intended) in a few places recently and I wondered what it actually meant so I checked with the mighty Google: it means a pre 1950s variety of potato, of which there are over 200. So it doesn't really mean anything about the specific potato on offer and is just boggy marketing guff for “we want you to think we are properly old-school” and, subtext, “we are going to charge you double”. I have to admit that the potatoes (waxy, knobbly, earthy) were rather good but I'm still choking on the description. As for the rest of the food, well it was perfectly acceptable in a similarly heritage sort of way. Chargrilled squid was fine if a bit rubbery with mismatched gritty chickpeas; fish pie was richly creamy with flaky chunks of well cooked quality fish like salmon but a little overpowered by the mustard in the mash topping; the sides, including the dastardly heritage potatoes, some salt-sprinkled green beans and amazing fried courgettes were lovingly prepared and tasted like it. The highlight of the meal was the dessert (bit of a surprise): a cru viruga choccie pud with honeycomb brittle, some delicious little biscuits and brownie petit fours. All decent but not the stuff of dreams, especially if those dreams were fishy. Atmosphere-wise, it was the perfect choice for my mother-in-law's birthday: discreet, refined, dim, old-fashioned. Heritage basically. Service was patient (the lady in question was nearly an hour late) and pleasant although a bit inconsistent ranging from one smiley, friendly young waitress to a more stiff-upper-lip maitre d'. At £66 a head (inc service, 2 bottles of cheaper wine, shared sides/pud between 4) it was not as toppy as it so easily could have been. Overall, Sheekeys is rather unadventurous, imperfect, potentially a bit expensive but generally reliable and unlikely to embarrass. In new-fangled, olde worlde speak, it's “Heritage”.
Food + drink: 4
J Sheekey is bang in the middle of frenetic theatre-land in London (perfect pre-theatre). Escape the mania and look for ‘Mr Ben’ (man in top hat) who will open the way to old world glamour and fancy seafood. This is a local London institution and therefore attracts the posh grey tinted, well-heeled regulars, the intrepid tourists, the foodie celebrity and those with a penchant for a fancy fish supper. Sheekey's has an all consuming, buzzy vibe in smart but intimate art-deco surroundings. Lobster thermidor was huge, glorious and creamy (worth the extra £s) accompanied by fine crispy frites. Fish pie was cosy and buttery. There is an odd non-seafood dish in case you have a non-seafoody friend (I still do not understand it). There are cosy little tables in nooks and crannies of this restaurant which are usually booked well ahead, but if you need a last minute, quick (not so cheap) supper, ask for the bar and be wined, dined and entertained by the charming bartenders. I love this place, not just for the fish but for the London frisson.
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