Melusine (a sea spirit in folklore) opened in 2020 in St Katharine Docks near Tower Bridge. It is the brainchild of Theodore Kyriakou, whose restaurant openings in London date back to the 55 seat Livebait in Waterloo in 1995, which happened to be around the corner from the office where I worked and so was a fairly regular haunt of mine. After that he opened The Real Greek, whose original venue was good, though the even rolled out copies of it were much less so. He also created The More in Tooley Street in 2009 and The Greek Larder in 2014.
The menu focuses on seafood, with several dishes having slightly offbeat ingredient combinations – peach salad with plaice for example. The head chef was the co-owner, Wade Mundford, who has mostly had a career as a front of house restaurant manager but recently decided to switch to the kitchen. This move may not have been wise.
The wine list had 26 labels and ranged in price from £26 to £81, with a median price of £45 and an average markup to retail price of over 3.6 times, which would be excessive even in Mayfair. Sample references were Tikves Smederevka Belo 2021 at £28 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £11, Soito Estate White Encruzado 2020 at £63 compared to its retail price of £16, and Akrathos Assyrtiko Halkidiki 2019 at £75 for a wine that will set you back £18 in the high street. The short list was predominantly made up of white wines, which makes sense given the seafood theme, and it was heavily slanted towards Mediterranean countries. Fully 35% of the list was Greek, and there were wines from Bulgaria and Turkey as well as Spain, Italy etc. We drank an entirely palatable Pagiannakos Savatiano 2020, a quite floral white wine made from a local grape from a vineyard near Athens. This was £38 compared to its retail price of £16.
A starter of a pair of diver-caught scallops with curried coconut cream, wilted spinach and spiced popcorn (£14) turned out to be the dish of the meal. The scallop had reasonable inherent sweetness and was cooked competently, though my scallop was not trimmed quite as well as it could have been, there still being some scallop skirt attached. The spiced popcorn was a flavour that was rather stronger than was really advisable with the delicate scallop (13/20).
Crab risotto (£15) with fennel seeds and fennel tops was a little soupy in texture yet the rice itself was a touch a al dente. I am sure there was some crab in there somewhere but it was quite hard to detect in terms of flavour (11/20). We opted to share a whole plaice (£48) cooked on the bone, with a side salad of roasted fennel and corno (aka Red Bulls Horn) peppers with some chips as an extra. The plaice was cooked well enough, if just a touch too long, so that the flesh of the fish was drying out just a little (12/20). The chips were not very crisp, which was a pity.
By this time I was not anticipating a three star Michelin level pastry section, so for dessert we just had some cheese from Neals Yard, including some Comte, which was fridge cold when served. It came with some quite good brown bread. Objectively that was actually the best thing that we ate today, and it is not usually a good sign when the best thing about a meal is the bread.
Coffee was a Colombian blend from a company called Hermanos Coffee, which is located very nearby. It was pleasant enough. Service was just about functional, as well it might be since there was just one other solitary diner at this service. The bill came to £92 each with some pretty modest wine. Although this is not wildly excessive in the scheme of London restaurants these days, the food was not exactly dazzling so I do not regard it as good value for money. This is a shame as the restaurant is in a pretty spot overlooking the water, and it could have some potential with a more capable team in the kitchen.