We‘ve been following chef Brett Redman and restaurateur Margaret Crow with rapt attention as they‘ve charted a course through London‘s culinary waters - from Elliot‘s Café to The Richmond to Jidori. Evolution is apparent in Neptune, their latest venture in The Principal Hotel, an imposing plinth of gothic architecture, marble and moulding perched on the corner of Russell Square. Upon opening Neptune was quickly heralded as one of London‘s coolest restaurants so we were very excited to visit.
The room breathes a breath of mistral air into the pomp and circumstance of the Victorian edifice. Designed by Crow alongside Russell Sage Studio, it could be Sketch updated for the Snapchat generation. The artwork is eclectic. Art nouveau ceiling lighting swathed in gauzy frilly white cloth gives the room a sense of cheek. Bathed in millennial pink with greenery sprouting from Edwardian columns and 1960s plush velour banquettes and seating, it‘s easy to imagine the Don Drapers of the next generation knocking back oysters and carefully considered cocktails. For those who want a little exclusivity, there‘s a corner table with a wraparound curtain.
Redman has recalibrated the classic seafood restaurant with a menu that prizes freshness above all other considerations, with most of it packed over from Cornish dayboat fisherman on the day. The seafood platter has basked in limelight since the launch with trad fare like oysters, langoustines, crayfish and crab reposing alongside mackerel escabeche spiked with a ‘rye‘ mix of spices and skinny discs of raw oyster. Kombu caviar is a work of art - replicating sturgeon roe with aplomb - served on perfect cuboid hashbrowns. Other standout dishes include melon gazpacho with fennel and dill; grey mullet with cockle, broad bean and tomato broth; and lobster with ginger and a white pepper butter.
There‘s a lot to be excited about at Neptune. It‘s well worth a shout for the style and seafood obsessive.
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