Randall & Aubin
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This Brewer Street seafood restaurant opened in 1996, and is now something of a Soho institution, and is as good an example as any of the area's gradual move from seedy past to much more seemly present. The site actually dates back to 1908, when it was London's first French butcher's shop. Many of the original design features remain.
The focus here is on seafood, with plats de fruits de mer of rock oysters, whole crab, Atlantic shrimps, diver scallops, cockles, whelks, cherry stone clams, Mediterranean prawns and green-lipped mussels alongside bouillabaisse, crab and lemon risotto, spaghettini marinara and char-grilled Cornish squid.
Other dishes include French onion soup, bavette steak with pomme frites, a house burger and slow-roast Aubrey Allen pork belly served with mashed potatoes, roast apple sauce and gravy. The wine list leans heavily on the old world, with more than 20 by the glass.
Randall & Aubin also have a branch up in Manchester.
From its roots as a Victorian butchers shop to finding itself at the epicentre of London's gay scene and now to Soho's gentrification, Randall & Aubin have always embraced the old and the new; 18th century chandeliers from Paris share ceiling space with a giant, glittering disco ball, which so perfectly reflects the fun-loving, lighthearted atmosphere that makes Randall & Aubin such a unique dining experience.