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19 October 2012

Good, Batter, Best: The Sea Shell Review

After living in NoMaRo for over three years, I have only made it to The Sea Shell of Lisson Grove once before and then only for a take-away, so it seems fitting to have eaten there on my penultimate night north of the river. To be fair, it was closed for renovations after a fire in 2009 for the first few months. The Sea Shell often appears on lists of the best fish and chips in London, but it is also pretty pricey--about £10 for cod and chips to take away--which seemed like too much for those nights when I was home alone but too lazy to cook.

The Sea Shell of Lisson Grove

Maman came in to London to help me pack up my flat last night so I treated her to dinner at The Sea Shell. We went to the restaurant, rather than the take-away bar, which has a few perching seats. It was very busy for an autumnal Thursday evening, with a mix of customers, from young families, to American businessmen, to, well, the likes of us. The cheerful d├ęcor, with brightly coloured painting and happy, unassuming tropical fish swimming in tanks, wasn't what I was expecting from the quiet, slightly dingy side street location. It isn't high end, by any means, but it's definitely very pleasant.

Your plaice or mine? (Actually, it's cod.)

As I mentioned before, The Sea Shell isn't cheap. My cod and chips was £14.95--mushy peas were £3 extra--and Maman's fish pie was £14.50. However, the food was very good. I'm not much of a connoisseur of fish, but my cod was really tasty. Chips, apparently, are "free" so you can have as many refills as you want. The small portion was plenty for me given the size of my fish and given that the chips were pretty average. Maman really liked her fish pie, which included cod, salmon, prawns, and veg, and was topped with cheesy mash; if she made lists, it might even have entered her top-three fish pies of all time. The staff were friendly and had good banter, and didn't rush us, even though they were busy. Our two main courses, the peas and a couple of drinks came to £45, including service, but for a good meal with generous portions in a nice little restaurant in zone one, that isn't too bad.

The Sea Shell of Lisson Grove. 49-51 Lisson Grove, London, NW1 6UH (Tube: Marylebone). Website.

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