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RESTAURANT REVIEW: BONNIE GULL SEAFOOD SHACK, SOHO

Looking for a great place to eat out in January that’s not forcing earth bowls down your neck but, at the same time, isn’t a calorie-laden burger pop-up? Try the new branch of Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack in Soho… 

January is one of those funny months in the culinary world. For the first two weeks everyone seems to be on a diet and shunning anything than resembles a chip or a dessert. By the last two weeks of the month however, most diets have been ditched and only the hardiest souls are sticking to #DryJanuary.

So where can you eat out if you’re watching your weight but don’t want to be fed endless plates of rabbit food and courgette ‘pasta’?

Step up the new Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack on Bateman Street, deep in the heart of Soho. Like its popular big sister in Fitzrovia, the new branch of this successful pop-up really punches above its weight. For starters, it’s a really cute space, where you get to sit on a bar up by the kitchen, giving you eyeball to eyeball access to the chefs. On the night I visited with two gossipy girlfriends in tow, the poor staff couldn’t get a word in edgeways, but they are hardened and cheery souls, no doubt used to dealing with a lively Soho crowd.

 

The menu offers modern seafood at its very finest with an ever changing menu of interesting (and seasonal) sharing plates where even those who think they’re not fans of seafood will be diving for the last scallop or oyster. We shared exemplary plates of tempura rock oysters, a white and brown crabmeat bisque and a very spicy chilli and garlic cuttlefish.

Each dish offered a power punch of flavour that leaves other so-called great fish restaurants in the shade. The team here really know their stuff and have managed to transform seafood into a sharing dish sensation.

Each dish offered a power punch of flavour that leaves other so-called great fish restaurants in the shade

The veggie side dishes are pretty knockout too with brownie points going to the tempura kale with anchovy mustard and a moreish plate of wood roasted celeriac with raisins and pine nuts. We teamed our dishes with three glasses of gorgeously dry Muscadet but you could easily get the team to whip you up a mocktail if you’re being good.

If you’re looking for something more substantial to eat, the bigger plates of gurnard fillet and a charcoal grilled Looe monkfish are pretty good but the sharing plates are just too good to miss.

Careful January eaters will love Bonnie Gull’s because it produces dish after dish of flavoursome food without the calories but if, like us, you’d been good only to be floored by the amazing treacle tart and clotted cream, don’t despair – you can always blame it on the charming cooks behind the counter. It’s that type of place.

22 Bateman Street, Soho W1D 3AN; bonniegull.com


 

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