Restaurants & Bars: Restaurant Reviews

Seabird

Oysters and crustacea high in the sky

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The background

Seabird is a partnership between Maison Premiere, the well-known seafood/oyster spot in Brooklyn, and the brand new Hoxton Hotel in Southwark. An odd pairing at first (there’s a doorman with white gloves and a clipboard in the BK Maison Premiere and The Hoxton is of course known to be more casual), but it works. Set on the 14th floor, this is a beacon for London potential. Cooler than Sushisamba, less pretentious than the Shard, this has definitely struck a chord, and seems to give a nod to a more grown-up direction for ‘The Hox’.

The vibe

By day, sunshine streams in and views are clear, and by night, the soft lighting inside illuminates, and the glimmering London skyline surrounds. If we had to, we’d choose night, but both are a treat. Inside, this is one big space. Staff are efficient and well clad – there’s an undercurrent of a tiki/colonial vibe here, and the sense of polish is a nice change. There are décor elements that resemble a Soho House aesthetic (velvet scalloped bar stools), but the bamboo accents and festoon lighting outdoors make this very much its own. Sit at the bar to start, then move to your table. There’s comfortable wraparound outdoor terrace seating, should it be warm, or if you be a vaper (we assume you could smoke out here, but?). Overall, we could see them hosting a great party here: indoor, outdoor, good times.

The food

This was truly one of the best menus we’ve seen in ages. With a focus on seafood, with Basque and Portuguese influences, there seemed to be something for everyone here. They supposedly have the largest oyster menu in London, so if you’re a fan, definitely start with half a dozen. Oysters from Portugal, New Zealand, Whitstable – it’s a real mix, and great oyster-ucation. For crustacea, go big blingin’ and order a seafood platter – their raw bar offering is extensive and carefully curated. Small plates were things like clams with cilantro (Basque) and fresh bread for dipping; sea bass crudo, sardine skewers, heirloom tomato salads. For mains, the seafood stew stood out, and for dessert, it has to be the cheesecake, complete with Manchego shaved on top at the table. We enjoyed things here that we frequently don’t – mackerel, sardines – both seemed meatier than usual and well seasoned. Good to try something new! They also have a large selection of natural wines, and they may have fun with their cocktails (the Toucan ceramic glass was a highlight), but they certainly aren’t messing around with the craft; an Aperol X was more Negroni than syrupy Aperol and it hit the afternoon spot (oops).

Top Tip

Look like a frequenter and head straight for the last elevator on the left of The Hoxton Southwark’s ground floor, press 14 and head straight up to the restaurant. Oh, and we forgot to have the octopus ‘hotdog’ which sounds interesting. Try it.

Anything else

They don’t seem to have gluten-free offerings right now on bread – they only use the best suppliers and haven’t found one for this in particular – so if you’re a baker who does gluten free, get in touch!

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