The Grand Duchess

Silver Award
British, Fish, River Boats

The Grand Duchess
The Grand Duchess
The Grand Duchess
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SquareMeal Review of The Grand Duchess

Silver Award

London Shell Co, a canal barge that cruises from Little Venice to Camden Lock, has done much to improve the image of floating restaurants since its maiden voyage in 2017. Now this second restaurant, permanently moored just up from Paddington station, replicates the charm of dining on the water without the fear of being trapped on board a boat for three hours.

Diners enter the barge from the starboard side and step into a hull that keeps the nautical theming to a minimum, instead going for a shipshape look of clean lines, fresh linen and lots of natural light. Close-set tables take up one side of the room, though the best seats in the house are at the eating counter on the other side, which looks straight on to the canal and the surprising amount of life aquatic bobbing past.

The kitchen follows the maritime theme with a fishy menu on which 90% of the produce comes from day boats in Cornwall. That might means a nubby pair of salt cod croquettes with lobster ketchup and aioli or for the full lobster experience a whole Cornish specimen with angel hair fries and lemon mayo. We were more than content, however, with our juicy nuggets of beer-battered lobster with chip-shop curry sauce that, just like the real thing, was on the mild end of the spice spectrum.   

To follow, chalk stream trout with cucumber, burnt baby gem lettuce and a new potato salad was the very best sort of English cooking, fresh, simple and flavour-forward. Hake with brown shrimp and an English pea risotto was even better, creamy, sweet and soothing. Prices of under £25 for mains are tremendous value given the quality on offer; there’s also a set lunch of two/three courses for £22/25.

The wine list naturally leans towards white wines, many made in the natural style, though sparkling wine (from all over Europe) is the speciality; we’d recommend you nail your colours to the patriotic mast with a glass of Grand Duchess own-label fizz created with Hattingley Valley vineyard in Hampshire. Homemade lemonade, made to order, is another personal touch, typical of the thoughtful service from the friendly young team.

About The Grand Duchess

The second floating restaurant from the London Shell Co. team is moored next to its sibling on the canal by Paddington station although, unlike London Shell Co., The Grand Duchess remains permanently docked.

The Grand Duchess is a 40-capacity barge which focuses on incorporating British fish into its menu, as well as boasting a drinks list which majors in sparkling wines. The cooking focuses on supremely fresh fish, delivered daily from Cornish fishermen. Dishes might include beer-battered lobster and fried curry leaves served with chip shop-style curry sauce, or a monkfish and wild garlic Kiev with lettuce, croutons and anchovies.

To drink, there’s a selection of 50 different sparkling wines, while those who don’t fancy a glass of vino can sip on a selection of seasonal cocktails, beers and soft drinks. During summer, some outdoor seating is available, so you can enjoy Sangrias as the sun sparkles on the water. 

Food and drink images: Nic Crilly-Hargrave

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
British, Fish, River Boats
Fun, Lively, Quirky, Romantic, Unique
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Special Features
Counter dining, Vegetarian options
Birthdays, Celebrations, Child friendly, Dates, Romantic
Food Hygiene Rating

Location for The Grand Duchess

Sheldon Square, Paddington, London, W2 6EP

07818 666005


Opening Times

All day
Mon 11:30-23:00
Tue 11:30-23:00
Wed 11:30-23:00
Thu 11:30-23:00
Fri 11:30-23:00
Sat 11:30-23:00
Sun 12:00-17:00

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