Search

Restaurant review: Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack, W1

11:24 01 February 2013

The whole crab was an impressive beast Pic: Helen Cathcart.

The whole crab was an impressive beast Pic: Helen Cathcart.

Archant

Alex Hunter, the brains behind Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack, has a distinguished pedigree in London’s pop-up scene; as part of Chapel’s Bonnie and Wild among others.

His first permanent venture is a fish restaurant that has all the hallmarks of a place that takes seafood very seriously – they don’t open on a Monday and the menu changes daily according to the catch.

The decor is that of a salty sea-dog too, with oceanic paraphernalia everywhere; Hemingway books adorn the walls alongside captain’s hats plus the white wine sits on ice in a lovely old sea chest.

It’s pretty small though, which means it’s not only quite hard to book a table, but also get to your seat.

Once we’d squeezed into a corner we ordered a couple of aperitifs – an excellent fruity Cachaça-based special and the fantastic smoke on the water (a crisp vodka number with a side of smoked salmon).

A map on the wall handily shows where all the produce comes from and we started with a platter of oysters from the raw bar.

We tried Jersey, Mersea and Loch Ryan varieties, of which the Jersey were the best, lovely with a touch of Tabasco.

There’s nothing quite so pleasant as these alluring crustaceans with a glass of white wine; a Sancerre ideally but as this was only available by the bottle we went for a very passable Sauvignon Blanc.

Our plump mussels with cider and bacon made for a tasty broth; the smokiness of the bacon combining exceptionally well with the creamy crème fraîche.

For the main course, my crab was not for the faint-hearted; he was a big old boy and came served whole, legs, claws and all.

Served cold, the meat of the body was scooped out and mixed with shack mayonnaise while the rest of the flesh was good quality with a medium strength flavour of its own.

Less visually impressive, but stunning as a meal was the sea bream. Perfectly cooked, with ham hock for extra flavour and Jerusalem artichokes for substance, the slivers of English truffle rounded off an exquisite mouthful. A true belter of a dish.

It’s no wonder Bonnie Gull has been packed pretty much nightly since it opened last year.

If I had a mild criticism it is that the place could do with a few more waiting staff, as the couple working seemed a bit overwhelmed with the hordes of hungry punters.

But overall it’s a happy and fresh destination for all fish aficionados.

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Mon, 13:01
Laurence Fox

The former Lewis star tells Alex Bellotti about playing the revolutionary Charles de Gaulle alongside Tom Conti.

Mon, 10:01
Jack Black stars in Goosebumps. Picture: Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.

Michael Joyce says this engaging romp through an iconic children’s book series could just do with a bit more originality.

Sunday, February 7, 2016
Swim Deep

Ahead of a date at Tufnell Park Dome, keyboardist James Balmont talks to Alex Bellotti.

Friday, February 5, 2016
Escaped Alone by Caryl Churchill. Picture: Johan Persson

The brevity of Caryl Churchill’s latest work makes it hard to discover anything about its central female quartet, says Bridget Galton.

Most read entertainment

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe