J Sheekey Oyster Bar

  • Restaurants
  • British
Critics' choice
10 Love It
© Paul Winch-Furness
© Paul Winch-Furness
Covent Garden

Like Paris’s Le Grand Colbert or Café Florian in Venice, J Sheekey is in danger of becoming an institution whose uniquely local appeal stretches far beyond London. The addition of this two-unit oyster bar creates an imposing procession of branded red canopies along St Martin’s Court. What could appeal more to tourists than the chance to knock back a couple of native oysters amid the nation’s finest stars of stage and screen? Vanessa Redgrave, Michael Gambon, that bloke from ‘Rebus’… if they’re not sitting close by they are at least hanging on the walls; regulars will recognise many of the photographs from the main restaurant. The menu is not substantially different from the restaurant either, save an extended choice of oysters and a tempting seasonal dish or two such as ceps on toast with garlic butter. Its appeal lies largely in the opportunity to eat well, simply and conveniently at such a grandly proportioned and convivial bar – at least twice the size of Sheekey’s old bar (which it looks just like) and that at rival Bentley’s. Five types of oyster are currently offered (West Mersea pearls and natives, fines de claires, Strangford Lough rocks and Helford Creek natives) as well as a mixed plate with spicy boar sausage. But if you’re not rushing off to the theatre, opt for the platter of fruits de mer, a necessarily leisurely trawl through primarily British waters that takes in the oysters as well as other marine goodies including cockles, winkles, crab, mussels, langoustine and exquisitely nutty tasting palourdes clams. Wines to accompany start at £18 a bottle – not a bargain but not prohibitively pricey, either. It was quiet and staff were extremely relaxed on our visit – but like Alec Guinness on the London stage, that’s something we can’t expect to see again.

Venue name: J Sheekey Oyster Bar
Address: 33-34 St Martin's Court
Opening hours: Open Noon-midnight Mon-Sat, noon-11pm Sun.
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square tube
Price: Meal for two with wine and service: around £100.
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Joss B

What can one say other than this is great place for seafood. The bar has, in the last few years doubled in size but kept the charm of the red leather seating and art deco features with the black an white photos of famous actors that have been on stage at the near by theaters. 

Food wise you wont be disappointed, just make sure you go with a few others so you can all share different things from the menu - the food is small sharing portions. There are many things that never leave the menu, such as the superb shrimp and scallop burger, but there are always new things such as KFC - Korean Fried Cauliflower - which is just brilliant. The oysters, fresh Atlantic prawns and the ceviche are all worth having too. Avoid the lobster as it is tiny for what you pay, and the fish pie is nothing special. Make sure you ask what specials are on that day as they are usually worth trying. And when it comes to dessert ask for the frozen berries with hot white chocolate sauce even if its not on the menu.