Much has been said about British cuisine over the centuries, but if there's one thing this island nation knows, it's good seafood. There are more than a handful of great seafood restaurants in the capital, but many of them require you to dig into your savings in order to pay for a meal. The Shell was a restaurant born out of passion for good seafood, by two founders who wanted to create somewhere you could feast on a shellfish platter without having to inflict pain on your wallet.
Just a few minutes walk from Russell Square and the British Museum, The Shell has a prime location on Southampton Row that makes it easily accessible for anyone in central London. The restaurant interior is minimal but a little playful - the floor is a mixture of tile and wood, and mirrors on the walls give the restaurant a spacious feeling. The eye is drawn to a large model of a crustacean, which hangs from the ceiling.
It's clear that the focus at The Shell is on delivering quality shellfish. The menu is straight-forward - aside from a smattering of other options (a steak, a burger, a vegetable soup) this is all about seafood. There are oysters by the half dozen, available au gratin or with red wine and shallot vinaigrette. Then, a huge variety of mixed shellfish platters that include crab, lobster, prawn, arctic shrimp, grey shrimp, whelks, winkles, langoustines, scallops and more. Platters are available cold or hot, and there are a few items available from the charcoal grill too, including sea bass, salmon, octopus and squid.
Desserts are simple but effective - a chocolate brownie, a creme brulee and a scoop of ice cream. The wine list is compact but reasonably priced, and The Shell does a solid line in cocktails too.