Throughout the last century, the most popular places for people of all walks of life to go for lunch, tea or other refreshment were the Lyons’ Corner Houses. They were universally popular, affordable and a national fixture, until changing tastes and the rise of fast food and other conveniences saw them first become an endangered species and then an extinct one. None of which has any bearing on their near-namesake, Lyon’s, a fish and seafood restaurant that has been delighting the patrons of Crouch End since 2019, and seems likely to continue to do so as long as there are customers who value well-priced, superbly cooked and lip-smackingly delicious food, in this location off the beaten track, and all the more desirable for it.

Once you’ve arrived in Crouch End (not the easiest journey, admittedly, but always worth the trek), Lyon’s is lurking invitingly just next to the clock tower that stands in for Big Ben in this part of North London. Its bottle-green exterior appears to suggest that good cheer will be offered to its patrons, and its stylish interior, all exposed brickwork and distressed original tiling, indicates that this good cheer will be forthcoming very shortly, as soon as a cocktail and a snack are ordered.

The drinks we sample are superb, especially the Bloody Dirty Martini-  a cross between a Bloody Mary and a martini, and every bit as good as that sounds – and a splendidly named Old Time Tea Fashioned, which has all the punch of an Old Fashioned but none of its overwhelm. The perfect curtain-raiser, in other words, for a memorable meal that lives up to the high expectations placed upon it.

You’ve got to order oysters in a seafood establishment. (Don’t ask me why, I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.) And the ones here, even ordered at a time without an ‘r’ in the month, are sublime, whether they’re the naked Carlingfords or the dressed variety, served with Ancho chile and apple granita. But all the snacks here are very strong; we were big fans of the saltfish croquettes, and the chilli crab choux buns are outstanding, too.

It’s all deeply, deeply satisfying and a half-bottle carafe of a very fine Chardonnay is a suitable accompaniment to the couple of small plates that turn up a moment later, a selection of gin-cured trout that comes with everything from tweezer-placed portions of rhubarb and labneh – and wouldn’t disgrace somewhere with a Michelin star – and a fine selection of BBQ fish collars, ‘the spare ribs of the ocean’ as my companion joked, which come with a perfect jerk marinade and a finely spiced slaw.

I’m a big monkfish man, and the variety that came served for a main course, big enough to share and slathered generously in a Kerala curry sauce was one of the best that I’ve ever tasted. It was mildly eccentric to be served it en plein, without any side orders – I looked longingly at the new potatoes with paprika butter on the menu – but it was suitably delectable even without further adornment, with the spicing just at the right level to give it the subtlest of kicks without overwhelming the flavour of the fish, and given a perfect accompaniment by a further carafe of Gruner Veltliner.

Then it was time for pudding, where the rhubarb baba’s use of absinthe syrup made for a suitably eyebrow-raising number, and the grilled pineapple was perfectly offset by the coconut sorbet. Then, slightly after two hours, we’d had our culinary experience, and it was time to depart.

There is a lot to like about Lyon’s, not least the extraordinarily good value set-lunch and early evening menu, in which you get two small plates and a main course for a mere £29 per person (including the trout, if you so wish), and the friendly and exceptionally knowledgeable staff. All I can say is lucky Crouch End, but also lucky anyone who has a couple of hours to be passing what has to be one of the best, and best value, seafood restaurants in the capital. It’s well worth diving into.

Lyon’s, 1 Park Road, Crouch End, London N8 8TE. For more information, including details of offers and events, and for bookings, please visit