Combining a view-heavy jaunt along the canal with some of the best seafood in the city, since launching in 2015 The London Shell Co. have made a name for themselves as a go-to place for an experiential dinner in no time at all. Think they’re content with that? They are not. On top of their already-heralded fish offering, every Tuesday in October and November, they’re also getting in on London’s latest food-trend-to-be (you heard it here first): UK-sourced game.
Brother and sister duo Harry and Leah Lobek are the driving force behind the operation, with their weekly event promising five courses of game-focussed plates, paired with complementary biodynamic wines. As guests take in the sights from the boat’s gentle expedition from Paddington over to Camden Town, they’ll tuck into an autumnal menu all in celebration of the UK’s bountiful and wild countryside, spanning rabbit and partridge to flavour-packed wood pigeon.
For those that aren’t familiar with their cutesy offering; the boat itself is as befittingly idyllic as they come, with an unexpectedly generous amount of space too. Three tables line each side of the barge, and if you fancy it, you can also head to the front decking space for your very own Jack and Rose photo-opp if the moment takes you. If you’re holding out for something more Insta-worthy though, make your way to the decking while the boat passes through the en-route tunnel for an eerie but equally as photogenic experience.
But as inviting as the boat and views are; this floating eatery is all about the food. For £60 per person, each diner will receive a welcome drink (a delicious sherry concoction on the night I visited), and five carefully-curated courses. If you’re not too familiar with game as a meat group, The London Shell Co provides a great chance to try it, and if you’re squeamish - in an accessible format too. As a sampler, the wood pigeon and black pepper sausages served with plum ketchup, and the coarse rabbit, pork and cobnut paté were a small but punchy two dishes to start with – and presented with enough care to calm even the ‘but I had a pet rabbit as a child’ worrier at the table. Served with fresh bread and pickled veg, the dishes are communal and a great gateway into the more substantial red leg partridge with a side Wardorf salad. Another pretty plate, with the only slight issue being its texture; looking around at the other tables, it looked like everyone was slightly struggling with the toughness of the meat closer to the bone, so prepare to get stuck in if you want to make the most of this succulent mid-way dish. To finish things off the roast venison haunch and salt baked turnips also impressed with deep flavour and carnivorous style, before ending on the welcomed and lighter portion of baked russet and blackberry ice cream with oats – a tart but fresh climax to a complex and relatively large menu.
It’s easy for restaurants in London to be typecast with certain kinds of style, cuisines and produce, but The London Shell Co are blowing that out of the water (sorry) with their weekly game night. All about sustainably sourced, local produce with bucket loads of flavour, if you’re mad for game or looking to experiment a little more – this floating treat of a restaurant is the only place for it.
The London Shell Co's game night takes place every Tuesday in October and November 2017.