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16 Brewer Street
Established in 1996, Brewer Street’s seafood mainstay is classic Soho: cool, relaxed, a tad cramped and buzzing with life. A disco ball and party music add some fun to the otherwise “quirky” mix of white marble counters, black-leather stools and gleaming tiled walls, while tight counter seats mean style wins over comfort. Seafood fans will appreciate the overflowing displays of shellfish on ice, while the partially open kitchen spins out a varied choice, from “amazing-value” fruits de mer and prawn cocktails to beef carpaccio and veal schnitzel. There’s also a dedicated oyster menu, supported by Randall & Aubin Champagne by the glass. Prices seem slightly inflated and we recommend avoiding the deep-fried options, but quality and presentation are impressive – as are the luscious desserts. Service is swift and slick, but don’t miss the effusive notes on the well-chosen wine list. With Randall & Aubin Manchester now up and running, this outfit’s future looks bright.
Best fish + seafood restaurants in London
16 Brewer Street
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 245m
Leicester Square Tube Station 353m
Wardour Street 61m
Freedom Theatre 90m
Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Sun -10pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Randall & Aubin is not what I expect at all: I was thinking elegant oyster bar and Ooh La La but it's more toilet conversion chic and Po Na Na. I guess a slightly grubby clubby feel suits its Soho location better. I managed to book for a Sunday lunchtime which was neither difficult, despite the supposed no booking rule, nor necessary, as it was half empty with everyone else enthusiastically watching the marathon. Service is a bit patchy: our waiter is solicitous, bordering on flirty (fine by me), but when he's not around the others seem unwilling to pitch in and I have to wave like a drowning puppy to get my first glass of wine whilst waiting for my friend. It's not the most comfortable place to sit in either: our knees knock against the counter where we are seated or, in the case of my long legged friend, “perched” and even my short legs feel like they're squashed into an economy seat on a no frills flight to a not-quite-short-haul-enough destination. Still, 3 large glasses of Albarino and one sighting of Millie Mackintosh from MIC aka Mrs Professor Green (people-watching one advantage of the uncomfortable bar stools by the large street-facing windows) seem to take the edge off. The wine list is great and would be reason enough to swing in with a long list of interesting, but not intimidating, options most of which are offered by the glass. The menu looks like, and is priced like, a good old fashioned fishy bistro. We had a juicy dressed crab and a flavoursome but rather oily, messy plate of prawns which I happily pulled apart but wouldn't be suitable for anyone in a white shirt followed by 2 slightly disappointing desserts (lemon tart being more cheesecake-like than the cheesecake itself) but the crispy, salty fries and liberal supply of bread may well have been highlights of the meal. So it isn't going to be my new go-to classic or delicious dive (our bill was £60 a head, admittedly half of which was booze) but I wouldn't avoid it either.
Food + drink: 5
Two of us walked in on a busy night, we were accommodated immediately. The service was excellent, crisp and friendly without being intruding. The food was outstanding- pan fried scallops were delicious and a sea bass with vegetables. A bottle of Chilean Tierra Antica was a reasonable £21 and very good value for money. The patrons were young and attractive, dancing under the disco ball. My only complaint is the music was too loud and sometimes made conversation difficult. Other than that, we will be back soon.
Disappointing experience, the maitre'd was rude, arrogant and generally unwelcoming, making it obvious he hoped we would not wait for a table. Our oysters were bitter and unexceptional, my boyfriend's Halibut was very good however my Turbot was swimming in oil and the gratin potato & leek, soggy and oily. Whilst I was hoping for a lively atmosphere and not a romantic meal, I found that we were shouting at each other to be heard. Our meal was redeemed somewhat by a charming waiter who provided friendly and efficient service.
My experience before Christmas with a friend couldn't have been more different, unfortunately my latest experience means I won't be coming back nor recommending this restaurant in the future.
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