When I visited the charming Bonnie Gull, I remember writing about how the London bias towards burgers/steaks/hotdogs/generally all things meaty over the last few years has eclipsed poor old fishies. Their so-called Seafood Shack of Fitzrovia had brilliant, responsibly sourced and fully British seafood (good news that they are opening a second branch April-ish time, just up the road from me on Exmouth Market).
My visit to Prawn on the Lawn on Friday night made me think I haven’t been to many other excellent seafood places since. It’s a perfect combination of lovely fishmonger/tiny restaurant, with sustainable fish and seafood (they don’t request certain fish or get fish from the trawlers, but instead get what the fishermen have brought in that’s good that day/week). There’s a few barrels and bar along the side to sit, but they have recently done up the basement in addition, which seats around 12.
There’s an excellent drinks list for such a small place (everywhere should have coupe glasses for Prosecco/champagne), with the food menu chalked up on the wall. Most dishes are smallish and good for sharing, all prepared at the back of the room in the little kitchen area.
We had to try the namesake dish – Prawn on the Lawn (£6.50) is toasted soda bread, topped with mashed avocado and a couple of plump prawns, with the freshness of coriander, lime and chilli. Another of the first dishes was the calamari (£7), hung from the bar above the seats (nice touch), which was a cold salad, and really light with the chilli, parsley and lemon. The steamed ray wing (£9) was delicate and lightly fragrant, with carrot, spring onion and soy.
We decided to keep adding extra from the menu with their half pint of prawns (£6) came with a little crème fraiche for dipping the sweet bodies once de-headed and de-tailed. The two stews were both excellent – one a tomato and chorizo stew topped with slices of tender monkfish (£9.50), the other a light broth (with some fennel I think) with clams, mussels and prawns (£9). Both with more of their home-made soda bread (I think it’s often the best kind of bread to have with seafood).
It’s a small place, and there was just the four of them working in there – it’s very much a personal business, with the dessert made by one of the sweet waitresses (a tangy lemon posset with blackberries, £6). I didn’t get a chance to pick up some fish to cook, but it’s an excellent place to come for cooking at home.
I loved the cosy room with the fish counter at the front, great music and attention to detail (just little things like the glassware, napkins, and the bill attached to the top of a sardine tin, filled with pink shrimp sweets). It’s a special place tucked away in Highbury, and a must-visit for those that love all things fishy.