Being the big foodie that I am, it would be a shambles if I didn’t make a visit to one of London’s great fish establishments.
Having been around since 1916, Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill has certainly stood the test of time. It’s not a cheap dinner that’s for sure, but I guess you get what you pay for – great food and great service; I’m not sure I have been somewhere where the waiter pays you so much attention (perhaps The Ledbury – but that’s for another blog post, another day)!
I ate in the restaurant area upstairs, or The Grill as its otherwise known, which at the time of booking seemed like it would be the best option. Having got there through, I realised I was mistaken [sad face]. Having never been there before, I wasn’t aware that there was a much more informal affair in the bar area on the ground floor, complete with a piano and in-house entertainment! The crowd was young and the atmosphere much more lively. In contrast, the restaurant area – was for me at least – quite stuffy and dare I say, rigid. I felt out of place for not wearing some form of dinner dress! I’m also not sure it helped that the guests who were sat next to me were about 65 (or older)! That age might I add, appearing to be the typical age of the clientele present at The Grill at the time.
Atmosphere aside, I can’t condemn the food – it literally was divine. And that’s a big say for someone who always opts for the meat option when out and about tantalising my taste buds!
I ate Oysters as a pre-starter (and yes I know that’s pretty greedy, but when in Rome…), and kept it simple with just lemon juice and shallot vinegar – for me, the simpler the better. I then had stuffed baby squid with chorizo, organic feta & mussels, which was amazing. I would eat this every day for the rest of my life if I could! For mains, I ate roast fillet of sea bass with fennel, apple & brown shrimp butter – equally, another fantastic dish. My starter was however, the winner hands down. I never got round to trying the dessert – which for me was a first – as I was totally content.
Would I go their again, probably yes, but surprisingly I’m not sure it would be my first choice (even if tempted by the bar area). There is an array of great fish ‘institutions’ in town and I’m not sure Bentley’s tops the list, but it’s certainly near the top.
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