BONNIE GULL SEAFOOD SHACK
She says: The pop-up-gone-permanent restaurant is an ever growing reality in London. The team behind Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack, now with a permanent residence in Fitzrovia have tried their hand at numerous projects, from their humble beginnings at Hackney to the more recent ’Bonnie-on-Sky’ summer stint at Platterform in London Bridge. The underlying theme has been simple and consistent throughout – bring the best of British seafood to the bustling heart of London. Step into the restaurant and the design and decor of Bonnie Gull will instantly remind you of the seaside, tables laden with a blue and white checked table cloth and a hand drawn map of the UK scrawled on chalk board, illustrating where the produce has been sourced from. It’s a Tuesday night and I arrive hungry with two of my girl friends Mel & Idelia after a casual peruse at nearby Topshop on Oxford Street, only an 8 min walk away…
The food: We’re enticed by the raw bar and decide to order a couple of the fresh oysters each – the Large loch Ryan natives (3.00) and Portland pearls AAA gold star (2.80). Mel’s craving some of the Palourde clams (2.00 per 100g) so we order some of those too! This is accompanied by a vinegary migonette and a zesty shack cocktail sauce. We conclude that the pearl oysters and clams – delicate, well balanced and sweet, trump the the heavier and richer tasting loch Ryans. For those unfamiliar with the British oyster scene, here’s an awesome tasting guide.
We decide to share 3 mains for a bit of variety…
King scallops from the west coast of Scotland w/ samphire, pickled white grapes & fennel (21)
Whole Devon cock crab w/ shack mayo and crusty baguette (17)
Potato gnocchi w/ spinach, walnut, caramelised onions & Colton Basset stilton (12.50)
Our carb heavy gnocchi was a good third dish to complement the rest of the seafood dishes – great choice Idelia! The stilton cheese was strong in smell and taste, but not too overpowering and the gnocchi itself was soft and pillowy – we gobbled this up and were not left feeling hungry! While the scallops and samphire (salty) paired with white grapes (sweet) and fennel (nutty) had a creative feel to it, I much preferred the simplicity of the devon crab. The meat alone was packed with flavour and dipped in the shack mayo provided extra deliciousness!
The verdict: We were so stuffed from all the savouries, that we had absolutely no room for any of the desserts (sad face… but a relief for the tummy lines!). We paid approx 33 pounds per person for food plus a glass of vino each (approx 5 – 6 quid). I would recommend this place for a catchup with a small group of friends (as the number of tables and seats are quite scarce) or a casual low key date with a significant other. The only negatives were that our bill was calculated incorrectly twice (we’ll forgive the staff as they had to hand write and calculate this due to till being out of order) and our table was right next to the front door, so I was on the receiving end of a few occasional bumps against my chair as patrons walked past! All in all, Bonnie Gull is great value, inexpensive and it’s on my list of restaurants that I’ll return back to… particularly when in need of an Omega 3 boost!