What's the draw
It might position itself as a 'modern, seafood-focused neighbourhood restaurant', but there's no denying what Neptune really is: a luxury hotel restaurant – and one with serious, in-your-face style at that. In fact, it's all bit Accidentally Wes Anderson up in here. But you know what? It works. There's a kind of nostalgic, ostentatious romance to chef Brett Redman (of Jidori and Elliot's Cafe) and stylist Margaret Crow's softly lit, peach-hued space with its Australia-by-way-of-California menu.
What to drink
Isabelle Legeron, the creator of RAW WINE Week and France's only female Master of Wine, is in charge of the offering here, so expect to see a whole list of low-intervention, organic wines with a few natural bottles in the mix, too. Our pick of the bunch? A glass of Fento Wine's 2017 albariño – young and flinty with a touch of white currant – from the Rías Baixas region in Galicia, Spain.
What to eat
Everyone loves a seafood platter and at Neptune you'll get a pretty good spread of British oysters, crab, langoustines and more for a decent £36. But if you want to get a better feel for Redman's flair, kick things off with the Exmoor caviar on hash browns with a cured egg yolk, or the scallop crudo, where slips of scallop become silky under a measure of dashi, saved from the brink of unctuous by a scattering of sharp red currants and bubbles of tapioca. On our visit, the spicy seafood spaghetti was salted to the point of brininess, but order from the wood-fired grill, throw in a side of buttery, truffle-coated Cornish Mids potatoes, and you'll be on to a winner. We'd go back for the whole mackerel – rich, charred and sat on a bed of perfectly seasoned chunky romesco sauce – alone.
Mains from £12; wine from £6.50 by the glass. Corner of Guilford Street and Russell Square, WC1B 5BE; neptune.london