In the daytime you can wander along to pick up your hunk of cod or red snapper from an array of shimmering seafood resting on crushing ice; in the evening this same ice-filled counter turns into a raw bar resplendent with oysters ready to be shucked. There are even stools set up for those wanting front row raw action, which is where we decided to perch.
The Sea, The Sea of course refers to the Iris Murdoch novel of the same name, and the man behind it is Alex Hunter, co-founder of acclaimed seafood restaurant Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack. Self-described by Hunter as a ‘fish shop and seafood bar’, The Sea, The Sea is a fishmonger and deli by day, restaurant and champagne bar by night. The space itself has been cleverly designed to make that easy segue from daytime to evening. Forget sterile white tiles and chrome, the room harnesses natural materials, such as the rock walls which evoke a cliff face lapped by the tide - an effect increased by a glow of uplighting.
Just like a traditional seafood restaurant nestled on the shore’s edge, the menu at The Sea, The Sea changes daily, depending on the fresh produce that comes in.
It might all be fish-centric, but there’s no seafood-ennui happening here. The menu harnesses a clever progression through plates that make you feel like you’re eating a variety of styles. Start with a palate cleanser of House Pickles and move into Scottish cured Cod with potato noodles and coriander - a vibrant green dish consisting of curls of faux-noodles and slithers of almost translucent cod. After this a Monkfish liver parfait is whipped an aerated cloud, spread on Japanese-inspired rice cakes sandwiched in Nori seaweed. Textures of crunch, softness and silkiness all merge. Tuna tartare is a particular favourite - livid red from the inclusion of red pepper and tomato, and stunning to taste.
As the dishes progress, it gets more and more satisfying, much in the way the ‘meat’ or ‘secondi’ course might do. Aged trout seems barely cooked with its slight wobble, and is divine with its accompanying salsa. Then the highlight are the Steamed King prawns - succulent, robust and in ideal finale.
Saying that, don’t leave without trying the lemon custard with waffle pancakes. Sounds simple, looks simple (a sunshine yellow blob on the plate with toasted waffle pieces), and yet is the perfect lip-puckering finish.
The ambience is welcoming; the mood is refined yet relaxed. If you want to get hands-on at home then during the day you can pick up stocks, sauces and even pies. But it’s the atmosphere of chilled conviviality and a menu of individual delights that caught us hook, line and sinker.
The ambience is welcoming; the mood is refined yet relaxed. If you want to get hands-on at home then during the day you can pick up stocks, sauces and even pies. But it’s the atmosphere of chilled conviviality that caught us hook, line and sinker.
|What||The Sea, The Sea restaurant, Chelsea review|
|Where||The Sea, The Sea, 174 Pavilion Road, Chelsea , London, SW1X 0AW | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Sloane Square (underground)|