Ocean Basket Kingston Upon Thames

Seafood with a River View.

Ocean Basket Fish and ChipsDon’t we all love them? Those little tavernas with the sound of lapping waves and plates of freshly cooked seafood. Greece is too far to go just for dinner, but one can enjoy a similar experience in Ocean Basket restaurants around the world and now in Kingston Upon Thames.

OK, Kingston isn’t famed for its sun-kissed beaches, but Ocean Basket can boast an enviable spot on the banks of the River Thames. There are seats on the terrace for those summer days and comfy seating inside for those other days when we wish ourselves away to warmer climes.

The Ocean Basket story begins in 1995 when the company launched the first restaurant in a small retail space in Pretoria, South Africa. Fats and George Lazarides had a passion for fresh food enjoyed with friends and family. Ask any successful chef or restaurant entrepreneur from where they drew their passion; I have interviewed many celebrated chefs, and the answer is invariably the same: ‘It was my mum’, ‘It was my granny’. Mama Liza, the mother of founders Fats and George, has been a cornerstone of the business.

The brothers saw an opportunity to make delicious, quality seafood available to a wider population. In those days seafood was a costly item and only accessible to the well-heeled. When queues started to form outside the restaurant doors, Fats and George realised they had something special, and they introduced the brand to other cities. Today there are over 200 Ocean Basket restaurants.

The Kingston branch of Ocean Basket is light and airy, giving a nod to a contemporary Greek taverna. The tables are covered with paper, the bread is free, and the menu is tempting. Nothing missing here apart from the owner’s cat asleep under your table to remind you of those vacations.

This is a delightfully casual restaurant, but for a taste of luxury try some oysters – and if it’s a celebration add a glass of prosecco. We ordered a fresh Traditional Village Salad of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, green peppers, feta cheese, olives and oregano. A simple dish and evocative of the theme. Yes, it’s a fish restaurant but we need our veggies; and there is a selection of vegetable side dishes too.

Try that sweet and flaky hake

ocean basket oysterFish and Chips was my main plate of choice – although it wasn’t a plate at all. Some of the dishes here are served in metal frying pans. A nice aesthetic touch and practical when presenting hot foods. The fish was hake, although cod and haddock were also on offer. But dear timid reader, please try that sweet and flaky hake. It makes a change from the usual suspects and it’s more sustainable. A great portion of battered fish and a serving of chips made for a delicious lunch.

My companion chose the Platter for One, which was a metal tray laden with hake, prawns, mussels, calamari, chips and rice. This was an attractive array of assorted flavours and textures, and a considerable lunch. There are versions for groups, too, the delivery of which will elicit admiring and envious glances from other diners.

Dom Pedros were our unique desserts. These are truly adult South African expressions of milk shakes. It’s vanilla ice cream liberally laced with one’s choice of Amarula (this is a cream liqueur made from the fruit of the marula tree), Kahlua, Jameson’s Whiskey or Limoncello. A sweet end to a memorable meal.

But there are discounts for Silver Surfers of which I will surely take advantage. Monday has deals on the aforementioned fish and chips – and we should all eat more fish!
Ocean Basket View

Ocean Basket Kingston Upon Thames

Phone: +44 20 3051 4358
Opening Times
Sun – Thurs: 12:00 – 21:00
Fri – Sat: 12:00 – 22:00

52A High Street
Kingston Upon Thames

Visit Ocean Basket Kingston Upon Thames here