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39 Endell Street
This seafood joint comes courtesy of the team behind The Ten Cases wine bar. Parsons is a jolly little spot, with green-and-white fishmonger-style tiles, tiny tables along one wall and a couple of eating counters poking out of the other – the sort of place that’s cosy in winter and breezy in summer, thanks to big windows that open on to Endell Street. It’s an appealingly individual set-up that, combined with friendly staff, decent prices and a brilliant location for pre- and post-theatre, have made it impossible to reserve a table for a couple of months ahead; try your luck with a walk-in instead.
But some hit-and-miss cooking took the edge off the good times for us. We loved Belgian-style potted shrimp croquettes filled with a creamy shellfish goo, salt-cod fritters encased in crisp, light batter, and a whopper of an octopus tentacle cooked to melting sweetness and accompanied by fabulously flavoured pork-fat potatoes. But chargrilled treviso with pomegranate and Pecorino was overwhelmingly bitter, sea trout tartare was ill-served by an assertive bloody Mary jelly, and brown crab pissaladière tasted acrid, as if the onions had caught in the pan – although like all of the dishes, it looked absolutely lovely. Larger plates of fish are available whole (plaice, sea bass) and by the fillet (turbot, gurnard), while around a dozen wines from the off-piste list are available by the glass and carafe.
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Best fish + seafood restaurants in London
Pre and post-theatre dining
SquareMeal 2 Stars
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39 Endell Street
Covent Garden Tube Station 182m
Holborn Tube Station 432m
The Hospital Art Gallery 52m
Donmar Warehouse Theatre 93m
Mon-Sat 12N-2.45pm 5-11pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 1
I'm actually angry this place is so awful. Most of the staff seem totally uninterested in both service and cooking. The fish main courses were utterly tasteless. I think cooked in a fish kettle, but without addition of seasoning, sauces or any flavour whatsoever. My starter was octopus, apparently finished off on the bbq, but in fact was flabby and gelatinous. I requested it to be crisped up, but it came back two minutes later in exactly the same state. Apart from colder and even more unappetising, We had to ask for everything: can we order food? can we order drinks? how is the fish cooked? (the names of fish are listed on the walls, but no description of how they're cooked - turns out because nothing is added in the cooking process). There are hundreds of restaurants in Covent Garden, this does not deserve to be one of them.
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