Review: London Shell Co

Last week, just because, Olly told me to meet him at Paddington for a surprise date night. I had no clue what we were doing until the morning of our date, when he accidentally made a remark about the journey we'd be taken later than evening. My first thought was we'd be taking a train, but then when I recalled him saying that the menu was seafood-based, I started to suspect that we might be going on a boat...

We were. Remembering that I've always wanted to take a trip down the canal from Little Venice to Camden, Olly booked us aboard The Prince Regent where the London Shell Co sets sail for dinner, Tuesday to Sunday evenings. (There are also other cruises at weekend lunchtimes; in the week you can have lunch on the boat whilst it's docked up at Sheldon Square.)

You can climb on board from 6.30pm for drinks, though the cruise itself begins at 7.30pm. It takes roughly two and a half to three hours to make the journey down Regent's Canal to Camden, and back again, all whilst plates of food are brought out and you enjoy the moving view. The most interesting thing that stuck in my mind was we were told before we set sail that the canal is only four to six feet deep; so, if the boat sinks, you'll be alright! Safety talk over, it was time to get moving (and eating).

To start with we had a Menai oyster with angel hair fries, which was my first oyster. I'll admit, I've not become an immediate oyster aficionado, but I'll likely give them a go again. I was a fan of the next plate - Cornish spider crab on a buttermilk cracker - but after a mouthful of the cured seat trout, cucumber and watercress gazpacho, I made Olly eat the rest of my bowl (and stole his bread as thanks). The flavours were just not for me with that one.

These courses took us from our start point at Paddington, through Little Venice and the 250m Maida Hill Tunnel, past Quinlan Terry's Regent's Park villas (six super grand houses that are worth an eye-watering amount), before we passed ZSL London Zoo and headed off towards Camden where we then turned around. At some points the boat is the same width of the canal, apart from a slight slither on either side, but these guys know what they are doing and we had a very smooth journey.

On the way back we enjoyed monkfish with wrinkled potatoes and mojo sauce (delicious), followed by a raspberry tart and whipped yogurt. Again, this wasn't for me, but Olly enjoyed his. You can also choose to have a supplementary cheese course, if you wish. Oh, and don't worry, you're not stuck at your table all night - you can have a mooch at the front of the boat and pretend you're captaining or simple enjoy your glass of wine and the scenery.

The dinner menu changes daily, and there's the option to have wine paired with your courses (at an additional cost of £35 or £55 per person). You can just order drinks to enjoy with your food; we went for a lovely British white wine, though I have no clue now what it was called! Dinner itself costs £45 per person, which must be paid before you sail.

We had a brilliant evening and we were both really surprised by how quickly the time passed by, even though you amble down the canal at what seems like a sedentary pace. It's a great way to take in London in a slightly more unusual way - with the added bonus that you get fed. Definitely a winning date night, thanks to Olly, and something I can cross off my London bucket list.

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