When it comes to high end fish restaurants London is well supplied with the likes of Bentley’s, Wilton’s, J Sheekey and the like. But as superb and refined as they are, they are pricey. Enter Soho’s Randall & Aubin. Founded in 1996 the Victorian butchery of the same name was turned into an Anglo–French Brasserie specialising in superb seafood.
The menu is a classic brasserie sheet divided into sections rather than straight courses. On offer are soups, including the classic French onion soup, salads, caviar, meat and roasts, and fish. There are also oysters, starters, a selection of fruits de mer, and the R&A crab burger or lobster po boy.
If you’re an oyster fan, you won’t be disappointed. The selection offered includes, French, English and Irish Rocks, you can even order a mix of them if you can’t decide. For fans of native oysters (and who isn’t) they are on offer whenever the month has an ‘R’ in it. If oysters aren’t your cup of tea, then you’ll be sure to find something among the starters, which include the likes of beef and tuna carpaccio, pickled Devon crab, and that quintessential seafood brasserie dish, Moules Marinieres.
When it comes to main courses both the meat and fish dishes are worth a look, with their mix of classics and modern updates. But the way to go, and the main reason for going to Randall & Aubin, is the shellfish under the Fruits de Mer section of the menu. You’ll find a section of fruits de mer platters, dressed crab, a variety of prawn options, lobster and whole brown crab. Not only are they all very good value, they are superb in quality. The lobster, so often over prices and over cooked in most restaurants, is spot on. The whole brown crab is succulent and sweet – swap the Randal & Aubin potato salad for fries – and dipping your fires in the brown meat of the main body is a match made in heaven.
The menu and the food’s quality will please any seafood lover and the setting makes it all the more enjoyable. They have kept the feel of the Victorian butchery with original white tiles, dark wood, and wrought iron, but added a degree of levity with a large disco mirror ball hanging in the center of the room. In the evenings the lighting is dimmed to create a relaxing setting and the windows are opened and folded back in the summer giving the feeling of dining on the street Paris café style. Bellow the chalkboards listing the specials of the day, there’s a full-length open kitchen, and all the seating is at white tile bars with wrought iron stools. While the waiting team is always welcoming and kind, always with a smile. This all builds a charming atmosphere that simultaneously references the restaurants past, a seafood bar at the docks or fish market, and a French brasserie.
Randall & Aubin should be top of the list for any after a great seafood restaurant. It’s reasonably priced, the quality if faultless and the setting is particularly charming. If you’re not a seafood fan, fear not there is enough meat on the menu that you’ll be well served. If you cant get in, fear not they do take away.
London Lamppost Score – 4/5
Randall & Aubin
14-16 Brewer Street