Sea ShellSearch online for the best fish and chips in London and you’re sure to find several first-page references to The Sea Shell of Lisson Grove. Rarely is the praise on review sites so unanimous.

Just look at the intros from the toptable.co.uk and timeout.com reviews:

Marylebone restaurant The Seashell of Lisson Grove promises to fulfill the fish and chips dreams of any discerning London diner. This fabulous kitchen, according to food critic Alain Ducasse serves up ‘the best fish and chips in London’.
toptable.co.uk

Marylebone restaurant The Seashell of Lisson Grove promises to fulfill the fish and chips dreams of any discerning London diner. This fabulous kitchen, according to food critic Alain Ducasse serves up ‘the best fish and chips in London’.
TimeOut London

Notice the similarity? I have no problem with TimeOut and TopTable sharing content. It’s sort of charming they both get the spelling of the restaurant’s name wrong. But based first on reviews of this ilk and then on my recent visit I’d say The Sea Shell (not Seashell) is less London legend than London myth.

Forget about best in London. It is mortal sin to charge £7.90 for a cod fillet, chips not included, if you commit two fundamental transgressions in a single order:

  1. The first cod fillet I was served (top photo) was tepid. Clearly it had been sitting for longer than five minutes.
  2. My replacement fillet (see photo below), this time fried to order, had a pair of tears in its surface.

Sea Shell

 

The batter should fit the fish like a wet suit and be just as impenetrable, absorbing the frying oil for delectable crisping while keeping it off the fish itself. The fillet effectively steams under its protective coating. This cod fillet had two small fissures into which oil had leaked to grease the fish. Yuck.

Know what I really think of the Sea Shell of Lisson Grove?

Sea Shell