The Shell Seafood Restaurant Holborn – Review

Peter Morrell and his Wife indulge their love of shellfish in this French inspired eaterie

The Shell Holborn

The Shell Seafood Restaurant in Holborn is a project born out of passion by a group of shellfish and seafood lovers who wanted to bring with them to London that feeling of fulfilment you get from seafood restaurants in France.

The Owner comments “‘A true shellfish seafood restaurant should not be one which you go to inflict pain on the wallet, but rather a paradise for any lovers of shellfish and seafood who just want eat and enjoy.

At The Shell they aim to bring you the freshest and highest quality products straight from the producers and fishing boats for a very reasonable price to fulfil you seafood dream.

The restaurant was opened in February 2020, the popularity of the concept encouraged the owners to open another branch in January 2023, located on South Quay Square in Canary Wharf.

The restaurant is big and buzzy, and large windows look out over the hustle and bustle of Southampton Row in Holborn, a relatively undiscovered part of London, being sandwiched between the West End and the City.

Although it was quite early in the week, there were lots of diners sat around large platters of different seafoods and shellfish.

As a seafood lover, reading the menu was a delight. You can put together a traditional meal with different courses. For example, you could choose a soup, oysters, mussels, or scallops to start, followed by a lobster or king prawn burger, grilled fish, or meat as the main, and have a dessert.

However most diners are here for the mixed platters of seafood. You can choose to have your food either a hot or cold, and there is something to suit every palate and pocket. They range from the modest, like the Gratin Mix with garlic and wine mussels, charcoal grilled prawns, langoustines, a scallop, and an oyster, to the Big Daddy, The Shell platter for three. This comprises three lobsters, one crab, three langoustines, king prawns, shrimps (or arctic shrimps), whelks, winkles, peeled grey shrimps, mussels and six sauces.

We chose The Big for two, and although there are sides available, passed on them, wanting to concentrate purely on the seafood. Our cold platter arrived, and sitting on a bed of crushed ice was a veritable cornucopia from the sea. In front of us was a whole crab, langoustines, oysters, king prawns, shrimps. whelks, winkles, peeled grey shrimps, mussels, and four sauces.

Savouring every bite, we slowly but surely cracked crab claws, wheedled out winkles, and prised whelks from their shell. We worked our way through it all, struggling at the end because of the quantity. The freshness and quality of the food was first rate, with very well-defined tastes and flavours of each species.

There is a well curated wine list, my wife paired the meal with prosecco, while I had the house red (Yes, I know, I know), the wine was light with smooth tannins and had a fruity finish.

Inevitably your hands will get messy as you’re eating, so thoughtfully there is a room off the main dining space with a wash basin.

This meal was way up to expectation and more. Eating this food recalls those memories of lunches overlooking the oyster beds of the Arcachon Basin in western France, or the piles of seafood served in the brasseries along Boulevard du Montparnasse in Paris.

Probably the biggest surprise was at the end, the bill. The meal was under £60 per person including wine and service which is remarkable value for money.

The Shell
124 Southampton Row
London WC1B 5AA

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