It was Eater’s list of London’s Most Iconic Dishes that got me through the doors of Sweetings. This seafood restaurant has been at 39 Queen Victoria Street for over 100 years and has become a hit with old school city boys looking for a long and boozy lunch. Note: Sweetings is closed evenings and weekends.
Included in Eater’s list was Sweetings’ scampi and bacon so I popped in for a solo lunch to see what all the fuss is about.
It’s a charming space made up of three small dining rooms. I’m seated at the counter facing the window which has a waitress wedged in the other side. I order from her and she shouts my order to someone else. It’s quite unusual/a tad awkward but I feel like it’s steeped in history so I buy into it. There’s a touch of the M.Manze about it.
The laminated menu features seafood galore, lots of which is pre plated and stored on a bench near the front door. Tiger prawns and bacon (£23.50) is best ordered “50/50” – half fried, half grilled. The prawns are super fresh with a lovely bounce to them and the poo tract is removed which is good to see – you’d be surprised how often it isn’t. The bacon is decently salty and crisp which goes well with the fish. A squirt of lemon brings it all to life.
Chips (£5) are a good filler but I’m pretty sure they’re of the bagged, frozen variety. They also retain their ‘fresh from the frier’ heat throughout my entire visit. I bet they’re burning through the kitchen bin bag as we speak. [Sweetings have since assured me they are NOT frozen chips so I stand corrected.]
You could argue that a one dish review of Sweetings is not exactly thorough, but unless you’re a city boy with an expense account, this is a great way to experience the place for yourself. A glass of Muscadet sat up at the counter, slightly awkwardly staring at the waitress while eating a plate of prawns and chips. Lovely stuff.
Would we go back? Yes