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The best restaurants in the City of London and Square Mile in 2024

by News Room
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They don’t make them like this anymore, for which committed modernists may breathe a sigh of relief. Sweetings first opened its doors in 1889 and somehow has managed to escape wartime bombing and post-war redevelopment, displaying the insouciance of the true survivor by spectacularly failing to move with the times. It is only open at lunchtimes, never at the weekend and the seafood-centric menu — or “bill of fare” — is an ode to the days when Britannia ruled the waves and Empire builders were fed a diet of simple English sustenance. Starters here favour shellfish. Crab comes as a cocktail, bisque or dressed, oysters are on the shell and potted shrimps on toast; fish-focused mains might be Dover sole or Cornish brill, fillet of haddock or sea bass, cod steaks with parsley sauce or skate wing with black butter sauce. Arguably, though, Sweetings is at its best for comfort-food classics that offer a glorious respite from a bad day at the office: lobster Thermidor with a good kick of mustard, fish pie under a blanket of mashed potato, plus pints of Black Velvet: Guinness topped with Champagne. Prices, while not exactly Victorian, are surprisingly reasonable for a slice of history this delicious.

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