The Melusine in St Katherine Docks: Fresh, sustainably sourced seafood with an innovative twist
Overlooking the watery enclave of St Katherine Docks and housed in the arches of the 19th-century grade two-listed Ivory House, intimate new restaurant The Melusine – named after a mermaid-like spirit – is a welcome addition offering freshly caught seafood delicacies from across the British coastline, carefully curated wine pairings and atrociously strong cocktails.
This passion project from executive chef Theodore Kyriakau (The Greek Larder) and operations manager Wade Mundford comes straight from the heart and has a strong community feel, with environmental sustainability at its core. The 40-seater restaurant, which opens out onto the boardwalk to seat 20 more, showcases an open-style kitchen, with handcrafted, Instagram-worthy artwork on the walls and a simple boat-like interior that takes a backseat to flaunt the exquisite ceramic earthenware and mouthwatering fare.
The menu changes daily depending on the catch and could be anything from Dover Sole to Cornish skate wing. There’s a raw bar serving up clams, oysters and cockles along with experimental shallot vinaigrette, lemon mayonnaise and a spicy devilled sauce, with rumours that there’ll be a forthcoming icy window display for all these aqueous beauties. We opted for a selection of freshly prepared small plates which were perfect for sharing.
Starting with a vibrant dish of freshly roasted beetroot and buttery Puglian burrata, we then moved on to tender scallops with full-bodied nutty fava bean purée and tasty chargrilled spring onions.
We tried the popular “surf and turf”, pairing fleshy coils of squid with grilled cold-smoked rump that was robust enough in its flavour against the blander ribbons of courgette carpaccio and the woody perfume from the drizzles of aromatic cep oil. A hearty stew of orzo pasta with slow-cooked vanilla beans, cavolo nero and earthy curd cheese made a tasty vegetarian accompanying dish, and we found four of these small plates was definitely enough for two people.
For dessert, we had an intriguing Cornish Cashel blue ice-cream doused in streaks of blackened cherry coulis. The rich and close-textured cheese worked well with the sweetness of the sauce (although we felt it was definitely something of an acquired taste). We also shared a delicious chocolate and tahini tart, handmade on-site, with salted caramel cream that lifted the floury and slightly bitter essence of the sesame seed paste. We finished up with a house special martini, The Juliette – named after Mundford’s own mother – a potent yet delectable concoction of smoked Reyka vodka, salted caramel, Tia Maria and espresso.
Trendy and Instagram friendly, The Melusine manages to blend traditional fish dish fare with headline-grabbing recipe innovations. With plans afoot to open a little onsite shop, this may just be the start of something new to rival Rick Stein’s seafood empire.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Matthew Pull
To book a table at The Melusine, Unit K Ivory House St Katharine Docks E Smithfield London E1W 1AT, call 020 7702 2976 or visit their website here.