Given that it involves a cruise, award-winning wine and oysters, you might assume that London Shell Co is the capital’s fanciest supperclub. Then you realise that two dozen tourists are watching you over their neon noodles as the barge navigates Camden Lock and you feel like a right ponce. But while it’s an unquestionably posh affair, this is an event born of a love of food, wine and good times, something that’s apparent from the moment you climb aboard.
Siblings Harry and Leah Lobek decided last year that serving seafood dinners with perfectly paired booze would be much more fun than their day jobs. Several successful sittings and a booze cruise or two later, they realised they were going to need a bigger boat. London Shell Co’s current incarnation sees guests board a drab-but-comfortable barge in Camden which chugs out to Little Venice and back again, accompanied by sweet-voiced jazz standards and the odd sea-related poem.
The food is excellent, particularly a creamy clam chowder that arrived in a hollowed bread roll as if we were in the Hamptons in 1984. A word of warning, though: do not come hungry. Portions were small enough that there was talk of going to the local chippy among the disembarking passengers. But at £40 for a three-course lunch and rather too much wine (and dangerously moreish cider brandy), it’s still great value. And still the classiest floating seafood boozathon in town.