Published on June 15th, 2015 | by Rebecca Anne Milford0
J Sheekey, Covent Garden
Summary: A meal here is assurance that the hype surrounding J Sheekey is completely warranted
You might have heard of J Sheekey, a seafood restaurant tucked in the little cobbled haven of St Martin’s Court, bam in the centre of luvvie-land. The exterior tells you a lot about the establishment itself. From the grand awning the colour of rubies, the preened topiary, and the swan-white tablecloths, then it speaks of class and refinement. Step inside and you can practically feel the sense of excellence in the air.
And yet, it’s not stuffy. How they manage this combination I don’t know, but our waiter had made us feel at ease immediately and you get the sense this is a favourite place for many a knowing soul to let their hair down.
And, next to the restaurant, is the J Sheekey Oyster Bar – a place to enjoy equally good seafood but in a slightly more relaxed setting.
There’s still the classic bistro style, with a tiled chessboard floor, shining brass fittings, and chocolate leather banquettes that you simply want to sink into and never get up. The bar stands proudly in the centre, glittering with glassware and bottles just ready to be shaken into a cocktail, and on a Saturday night this is where the party can really be found. There’s a bit of theatrical fun to J Sheekey, reminiscent of its thespian heritage – although they’re serious about food, the ambience created is certainly intended to give you a good show.
We began with a cocktail of elderflower and fizz, ideal for cleansing the palate. It was a Sunday afternoon, with relaxed vibes infiltrating the spotless room and a family on one side of us, a group of friends marveling over their seafood platter on the other. We began with one of the Sheekey staples – oysters. The West Mersey Natives were incredible– plump and succulent, glistening inside their shells just waiting to be devoured. We began by sprinkling them with the accompanying piquant vinegar and relish, but soon we only drizzled with lemon, before closing our eyes and savouring the sea-side essence that washed across our palates like ocean waves on a briny pebble beach.
For our main courses, I was intrigued by the John Dory – a fish that I don’t think appears on menus enough. Served with broad beans and chilli relish, it was spring in a bowl, and I take my cap off to the chef who delivered the flavour combinations wonderfully. The fish flaked at my fork, was as white as the crest of waves, and the refreshing smack of mint really brought out the tastes. The crunch of beans and the accompanying surf clams added that extra layer of flavour.
My dining partner went for one of the classics – the Fish Pie. This is a staple of J Sheekey, and for good reason. Indulgent and comforting, it was like sinking into a dream of cheese-coated potato and creamy fish goodness. Luxurious would be an apt word indeed.
A meal here is assurance that the hype surrounding J Sheekey is completely warranted. Want more proof? Just head to the toilets. Black and white prints of all the famous patrons line the walls, more star-studded than a Kardashian wedding (and far more classy). And now a spring menu has arrived then there is even more reason to visit. So, get a Sheekey on and come taste the seafood delights at this London institution!
J Sheekey, 28-32 St Martin’s Court, WC2N 4ALShare This Post