Back in 2018, my friends and I made an impromptu long weekend trip to Amsterdam. One of the meals we had was at a restaurant called Seafood Bar, where we treated ourselves to seafood feast. Fast-forward to 2021, Seafood Bar has opened its first international branch outside of the Netherlands and landed in London Soho.
Having grown up with plenty of seafood in the Far East, the bar has been set quite high. Typically, London unfortunately do tend to fail to deliver when it comes to fresh seafood. With all their success in the Netherlands, we’re quite keen to find out how Seafood Bar would fare on the other side of the North Sea and whether it can replicate the same success & quality here.
Seafood Bar: from the Netherlands to London, from Fishmonger to Restauranteur
The story of Seafood Bar began in 2012 when well-respected fishmonger Fons de Visscher decided to switch up his career and dip his toes into running a restaurant. The rest is history. With nearly three decades of experience as a fishmonger, it’s safe to say they’re an expert in the topic of seafood. It didn’t take long for the family-run restaurant group to expand into four branches across Amsterdam and Utrecht. And now, of course, with the fifth in Soho London as well.
Additionally, sustainability is a huge focus for the restaurant, sourcing only the best & sustainable salmon from Nordic Blu and leading the way in operating with green energy in the restaurant industry. You can read more about Seafood Bar’s commitment to sustainability here.
Seafood Bar London & The Food
Date of dining: May 2022
Stepping into Seafood Bar London was almost a flashback to when we visited one of their restaurants in Amsterdam. The familiar bright and airy interior was a welcoming sight, and I later learnt that the London restaurant was designed by the same people behind Sushi Samba. There is a stylish but chilled atmosphere to it, simple yet refined, and somewhere one can easily spend the afternoon away. As for the food, the menu is extensive, featuring the likes of classic Fruits de Mer platters, grilled seafood, tartare & ceviche etc., as well as a menu section dedicated to oysters. You’d also be delighted to find that the prices aren’t extortionate and are fairly reasonable. Here is what we ordered:
Please double check with staff whether some of the dishes may contain alcohol.
*Disclaimer: this is a press meal and we were given up to £100 budget spend at the restaurant. All views are our own.
After placing our orders, we were served some complimentary bread while we waited for the dishes to arrive. I’ve always said that the simplest things such as bread & butter often tells a lot about the restaurant, and I’m glad to say that Seafood Bar London has passed the first impression with flying colours. Crusty on the outside and fluffy on the inside, it may not seem much but it’s good quality stuff. The fresh butter was an absolute delight and set the right tone for the rest of the meal.
Crab Cake (3pcs) (£12.50)
Beginning with starters, these golden pillows of crab cakes were a joy to savour. It comes in a portion of 3 pieces and are served with a side of citrus mayo, lemon wedge and rocket leaves. There is no skimping around here. Each bite was packed with genuine crab meat, all enveloped under that gorgeous crispy breaded coating. The subtle tang from the citrus mayo was an impeccable pairing to the crab cakes. If you like, a little drizzle of Tobasco works wonder too. All in all, we’ve absolutely enjoyed every single bite of this and it’s some of the top crab cakes we’ve had around London.
Mixed Grill + Half Lobster (£29.50 + £17.50)
Moving onto the main event, we both decided to go for the seafood mixed grill and added an extra half lobster to share. It was truly a delightful sight when the massive plates arrived at the table, with a generous amount of seafood piled high over a bed of tomato sauce. The mixed grill from the plancha includes grilled king prawn, shrimp skewer, squid rings, mussels, salmon, slip sole fillets, sea bass fillet, samphire, and the extra half a lobster we ordered. We were given a little bucket on the side for discarding shells and bones. Bibs are also offered but we felt we were okay without them.
This was definitely an impressive feat. The quality was up to par with those in other European and Mediterranean countries, and it was certainly better than I remembered when I had it in Amsterdam! Each item on the plate was grilled to perfection, beautifully seasoned, and all nicely complimented with that fragrant & moreish tomato fennel sauce. The only thing is that there can be quite a lot of bones to pick out if you’re not used to tackling fish with bones. But small bones aside, everything was easy to manage.
Boiled Potatoes with Butter & Chives (£4.50)
In the perfect bite-size, buttery to taste and soft to bite, these boiled potatoes make an excellent side dish. Butter and chives go together so well and you can’t go wrong with the flavouring combo. The flavours were simple but effective, and the potatoes were well-seasoned all around.
Restaurant Review Summary
All in all, Seafood Bar London has exceeded our expectations. Most outstandingly is that the meal was a lot better than what I remembered from Amsterdam’s. As a seafood lover, I couldn’t be more thrilled to find such top-quality and affordable seafood so conveniently in Soho. We would’ve loved to sample their desserts but the meal ended up more filling than we expected and we were absolutely stuffed – I guess we’ll just have to save that for next time! The superb quality of food truly speaks for itself at Seafood Bar and I’m sure it will impress you as much as it impressed us. To all seafood lovers, you must put this at the top of your list to visit.
Top-quality, sustainable, and reasonably priced seafood restaurant in the heart of Soho London.
Nearest station: Soho