Native oyster season

picture of Sheekey

It’s September once again, which means three things – school is back in session, summer is about to start (weatherwise), and its native oyster season… in celebration of which we’ve got the definitive list of restaurants, pop-ups and bars serving the capital’s best bivalves…

 

You can’t go wrong at a classic oyster bar…

J Sheekey Oyster Bar WC2

£63

“It’s “pure gastronomic theatre” to grab a high stool in the Theatreland legend’s “less formal” bar – many reporters prefer its combination of “real glamour” and “divine, simple but perfect seafood” to the full -blown experience next door.

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Bibendum Oyster Bar SW3

£58

““For a crab, or a dozen oysters and a bottle of vino”, this swish seafood bar, off the entrance to the Chelsea Conran Shop, is just the job – now that nearby Le Suquet has closed, where else would you go for “top fruits de mer”?

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Randall & Aubin W1

£52

“A pretty much unique experience!”; offering “delicious” seafood, right in the sleazy heart of Soho, this “cosily perfect” (if “loud”) champagne and seafood bar is “a real gem”; “get a window table to watch the goings-on outside”.

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Head to London’s upmarket environs for your bivalves…

Wiltons W1

£98

“The best turbot”, “excellent Dover sole”, “seafood of superb quality” – such are the delicacies which still win a major following for this “civilised” but “absurdly overpriced” bastion of the St James’s plutocracy – est 1742, and on this site since 1984.

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Scott’s W1

£78

“Taking over where The Ivy left off” – Richard Caring’s “suave and sophisticated” Mayfair all-rounder serves up “supreme” seafood (London’s best, say some) to an A-list crowd; is it starting to coast, though? – ratings dipped a bit all-round this year.

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Bentley’s W1

£74

“Always first-class”, this “beautifully elegant” Mayfair fish “institution” wins high acclaim for its “super, no-nonsense seafood” – the “down-to-earth” ground floor champagne and oyster bar (with nice al fresco tables) is often preferred to the “quieter” upstairs.

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Or why not try somewhere a little more casual…

Gow’s EC2

£57

“Staid” it may be, but this long-established cellar operation, near Liverpool Street is, “still a good City option if you like fish”

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Wright Brothers (group)

£52

““Fabulous fresh oysters” and “perfect fish” have made a smash hit of this “casual”, if “cramped”, Borough Market bistro, which “oozes atmosphere”; “stick with SE1”, however – the grander Soho offshoot is not nearly as well rated.

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Fox & Anchor EC1

£49

“A marvellously “cosy” and “historic” inn, “tucked away” in Clerkenwell, where British dishes are executed with a “creativity and lightness of touch rarely found”; breakfast is a famous highlight – “a full cholesterol fry-up washed down with a pint of Guinness”. They are also well regarded for their shellfish, serving Maldon rock oysters and prawns by the pint.

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And for something a little different visit…

Richard Haward’s Oysters

Find Richard Haward and his Blackwater bivalves at Borough Market Mon-Sat in Stoney Street. His family has been growing oysters to the west of Mersea Island, Essex, since as far back as 1792, so if you’re looking for native shellfish with lineage then this is the place. Enjoy them at the stall on the half shell or grab a dozen to go.

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The Bloody Oyster

A crowd-funded start-up hoping to bring oysters back to the masses, the Bloody Oyster plies its trade on the road from a double decker bus. At the moment they are parked on the South Bank, serving oysters – deep fried, poached and fresh – and signature Bloody Marys from 11am-11pm, Tues-Sun.

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Mother Shuckers

Possibly London’s most pun-tastic pop-up. The Mother Shuckers only deal in sustainable British bivalves and have teamed up with some local booze brewers to create what they call ‘oyster mixology’. You can find them regularly popping up at The Muse, 269 Portobello Road, W11 1LR on selected weekends and for tasting events.

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