Seafood: The Perfect Summer Cuisine

James Lawrence
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Seafood: The Perfect Summer Cuisine

Kensington Place: a great seafood restaurant in London

Nowhere matches the UK for the quality and freshness of our seafood. Our coastline is a positive mecca for lovers of great fish and shellfish: Dorset crab, oysters, scallops and lobster from Devon, Dover sole, wild sea bass - the list goes on.

And it's the perfect time for indulging your salt tooth as well, as warm weather demands lighter, fresher fare - ideally something that goes well with white wine.

Yet, despite the abundance of gorgeous seafood, we have traditionally been seen as a nation of carnivores, viewing fish with often a slight suspicion.

We may have a long history of adoring fish and chips - more than 225 million portions of Fish and Chips are sold in the UK each year - but it's taken a while for us to expand our taste buds to beyond the battered.

Over the past few years a wider appreciation of seafood has grown in the UK with many new seafood-based venues opening all the time.

For those looking for a generous helping of shellfish, sea-bream or just good old fashioned fish'n'chips, I've listed my top four seafood restaurants below:


Anchorstone Cafe,

Manor Street, Dittisham, Dartmouth

01803 722365

A quintessential seaside cafe, the Anchorstone's much coveted alfresco tables enjoy prime position overlooking the river Dart and it's hard to imagine a nicer place for seafood dining in the summer.

So come for the location but stay for the excellent (and reasonably priced) selection of shellfish. The crab and lobster are particular highlights and the crab sandwiches utterly addictive.

Simplicity is their secret: Fresh fish caught daily is cooked to your liking with a constantly changing specials board that keeps you up-to-date with what's good. Which is everything really, but my personal favourite is the spider crab, grab it quickly while it's in season.

Kensington Place

201-209 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 7LX

020 7727 3184

This is as close as you'll get to the seaside without actually leaving London. For Kensington Place has its own in-house fishmonger - from whom you can purchase fish directly - which is supplied by Billingsgate market (with fish raced up to the capital from Cornwall).

It remains my favourite seafood haunt in London, and in my opinion is unsurpassed for the quality and freshness of the fish on offer.

A warm, airy dining room is attended to by lovely, engaging staff who ensure that everyone leaves smiling and contented. Take my advice, ignore the superfluous meat and risotto dishes (although their pea soup is tasty) and focus on divine, fresh fish fillets cooked to your request.

Roasted halibut with triple cooked chips hit the spot, as do lush desserts of white chocolate panna cotta and dark chocolate mousse. A well-priced wine list compliments this mecca of fine seafood dining - a must visit for anyone who loves great fish.

The Rock & Sole Plaice

45-47 Endell St, London (Covent Garden)

020 7836 3785

A London institution, and right in the heart of the West End so expect a few tourists. The Rock and Sole remains true to its origins, however, as one of London's oldest and most respected Chippies.

Try and grab one of the outdoor tables in summer and enjoy some of the best fish and chips in London, and indeed the UK, despite the lack of seaside location.

There is a range of options, but I always plump for the battered haddock, chips and a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Heaven. Service is very smiley and amiable, especially considering the crowds they deal wit.

The Scarlett hotel restaurant

Redragon Road

Mawgan Porth



01637 861800

There are quite a few contestants for the prize of the UK's best seafood venue, but the Scarlett's terrace restaurant is definitely up there.

Head chef Tom Hunter will only use locally sourced ingredients to craft a menu that changes according to the flavours of the month.

Fresh, perfectly cooked fish dishes - including sea-bream, Dover sole, halibut - shellfish on tap and an extensive wine list are all present and correct. In the summer months you dine facing the Cornish coast, affording amazing sunset views. It's as far away from the hustle and bustle of life as can be and perfect for a UK-based treat.