Oct 23 2012


Sweetings is such an old school place. Old school in a sense that it has been open since 1889 and also in a sense that city financiers have been going there for years, and to emphasise this point, this place was suggested to me as a great lunch spot by one of my colleagues that has been working in this industry for nearly 30 years. Nevertheless I usually love these type of places full of tradition and character and I have been trying to go to Sweetings for a while and have suggested it to many people only to be rejected and finally I was so happy to hear my friend Nick suggested we should go there for lunch. 


Sweetings is a fish and seafood restaurant and is located a short walk away from the Bank station on Queen Victoria Street on a corner and has a welcoming blue sign on the top of its doors. It is a no reservation place, and you are advised to show up early to secure a table. I went there at 12.45 and I was scared they would turn me away at the door as I did not come at 11.55 but luckily only half the restaurant was full, and so getting a table even at this time was not a problem. If your lunch party has not arrived together they offer for you to wait at the bar area, which is super fun. There are high bar stools stacked agains the bar in the bar area and white tablecloths with different sauces that go with the fish on the table as decoration, and I had a super tasty virgin mary there whilst waiting for Nick. When Nick arrived we were taken to a room further inside the restaurant and as you get a glimpse of the restaurant, you realise it is not big at all. 


We were seated and the menu was an A4 piece of paper full of starters and main courses and Sweetings also offers specials, which the waiter kindly explained to us. Nick and I opted for one of their specials as a starter, which was the seafood cocktail full of prawns, crayfish and lobster and our third lunch buddy Mukhtar had the same after a slight deliberation. The starter was excellent. I have no idea what made it so nice, I have really thought about it and I can’t figure it out but this was one of the nicest seafood cocktails I have had, and usually I am not even able to tell the difference between these type of dishes as they are so similar and all of them consist of seafood, sauce and lettuce. Maybe it was because the seafood was excellent. But note Mukhtar did not finish his starter and I am thinking it is either because he did not like it, which means this dish was not as excellent or maybe because he is quite small and does not eat that much, and for the time being I am sticking to the latter option. 


As for the main course Nick and I had the mixed grill and Mukhtar wanted the lemon sole (all of these were specials on the menu), but unfortunately they had run out of lemon sole so Mukhtar had to settle for dover sole. After a brilliant starter the main did let me down, as there was not that much seafood to justify the price and also it did not seem that great and I actually thought they had overcooked the fish. I did finish it though with the spicy tomato based sauce that was also on my platter as well as the tartar sauce, but I did not think it was a main worthy of such a historical place as Sweetings is. Mukhtar’s dover sole looked nice. The sides were also not impressive, my side salad was just a salad tossed together with the most typical salad dressing and the peas and spinach whilst very funky served in a metal dish like something you get in a prison (I assume this from watching movies not from personal experience) were not that tasty or no that big. 


Overall my feelings about Sweetings went downhill during my meal, I loved it when I first entered it and had the starter, but by the time I left the restaurant I thought the food was not really worth the price you were paying. I still think the ambience of an old school place is amazing, and that is one of the reasons why I give this place 3Ms, but as the competition in the restaurant scene is so tough these days and there are so many seafood places opening up and functioning in London, you just can’t afford to serve average food.


Date: 23/ 10/12

Price for 3, no alcohol: £166.60

Location: Bank

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39 Queen Victoria Street, EC4N 4SF,
United Kingdom
Sweetings Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3