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The Grand Duchess

Restaurants, Seafood Paddington
3 out of 5 stars
 (Photograph: The Grand Duchess)
1/7
Photograph: The Grand Duchess
 (Photograph: The Grand Duchess)
2/7
Photograph: The Grand Duchess
 (Photograph: The Grand Duchess)
3/7
Photograph: The Grand Duchess
 (Photograph: The Grand Duchess)
4/7
Photograph: The Grand Duchess
 (Photograph: The Grand Duchess)
5/7
Photograph: The Grand Duchess
 (Photograph: The Grand Duchess)
6/7
Photograph: The Grand Duchess
 (Photograph: The Grand Duchess)
7/7
Photograph: The Grand Duchess

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.

A canalboat seafood restaurant in Paddington.

When you first hear the words ‘canalboat seafood restaurant’ you may make a few assumptions: the boat will be heading somewhere, it’ll be a bit wobbly, and you will see a lot of ducks. In the case of The Grand Duchess, you’d be right on the last one: there are a lot of ducks. The Grand D, while technically afloat, is so firmly moored to the canal path that there’s not a trace of an underfoot tremor (and it’s not going anywhere).

Once inside, though, there’s a boatload of not-too-twee nautical charm, plus long horizontal glass windows running down both sides. On the starboard/canal path side, you can sit at proper tables, but the people-watching is nothing special. Instead, ask to sit at the counter, on the port (ie canal) side. Duck-watching (and geese and moorhens and the odd swan) is so much more rewarding.

The food is good, though no better than you’d get at a half-decent dinner party. We swooned at the decadent chocolate and pistachio tart, with its scoop of ‘pearl of the south’ (a pistachio and almond ice cream from Hackney Gelato).

Also excellent: a beautifully balanced starter of tender cuttlefish, tumbled together with fennel, fresh parsley and the heat of red chilli. And crisp-skinned sea bass over a heap of warm and tangy puy lentils, strung through with ’nduja and chard. But while a beetroot, taleggio and walnut salad was perfectly pleasant, our £29 turbot arrived with an unwelcome layer of tasteless fat.

Still, the young staff are sweet and friendly, the music straight out of a Sunday coffee shop. And there are lots of ducks.

Details

Address: Sheldon Square, Paddington Central
London
W2 6PY
Transport: Tube: Warwick Avenue
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £125.
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