Back in 2002, brothers in law Ben Wright and Robin Hancock aka The Wright Brothers set about trying to reinstall the popularity of oysters – molluscs had, after all, been a staple London street food for years before they suddenly became the preserve of the wealthy elite. The seafood specialists now supply over 200 of London’s finest restaurants with a range of high-quality, sustainable oysters, fish and seafood and they have four restaurants in London – the Oyster & Porter House in Borough Market, Soho Oyster House, Spitalfields and South Kensington – so they’re doing pretty well with their aim! We caught up with them to find out their five favourite spots for seafood in London.
Old Fashioned Charm
With a 120 years’ experience, J Sheekey certainly know a thing or two about seafood, it’s one of our go to places when we want something a little smarter with that old-school touch.
What It’s Good For: Make sure you start with the oysters! They also prepare the food in front of you, giving a sense of occasion.
Favourite Dishes: A platter of oysters; Sheekey’s Fish Pie; scallops in half shell with chilli and garlic; and char-grilled octopus.
Where: 28-34 St Martin's Court, Covent Garden WC2N 4AL
Japanese Seafood in Mayfair
We share our passion (and slight obsession) of seafood with the chefs at Umu – these guys are all about the attention to detail and great quality. They use a method called Ikejime which is said to be the fastest and most humane method of killing the fish, it is also maintains the quality of the meat, so you get a great flavour.
What It’s Good For: If you’re after a taste of Japanese culture and something a little more unusual then Umu is a good bet – check out the sea urchins.
Favourite dishes: Cured Cornish sardine, yamaimo-yam puree and sudanchi jelly; and sake-cured Scottish langoustine with fresh tomato jelly.
Where: 14-16 Bruton Place, London, W1J 6LX, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Oxford Circus (0.5 miles)
The Early Bird Catches The...Fish
You have to be prepared for an early start if you want to make the most of Billingsgate Fish Market – it opens at 4am and is finished by 8am, but we promise it’s worth it! With daily deliveries from the British shores and overseas, they have the largest selection of fish in the UK. If you are after something, chances are you’ll find it here, because it isn’t just opened to traders, the public can visit too – add it to your London bucket list.
What It’s Good For: The variety of fresh fish.
Favourite Dishes: Natural smoked haddock from Bobby’s Fish stall and pickled herrings from John Stockwell’s stall to name a few.
Where: Billingsgate Market, Trafalgar Way, Poplar, E14 5ST
There are three Barrafina’s now, the first was in Soho, Dean Street but you’ll also find them on Drury Lane and Adelaide Street. They don’t take bookings in Soho, but we love dropping in for tapas – brilliant Mediterranean dishes and the staff are always eager to recommend dishes.
What It’s Good For: As well as their consistently changing menu, their special board is excellent – it’s always worth taking a look, you’ll find the likes of cod cheeks and red mullet tempura.
Favourite Dishes: Crab croquetas; salt cod fritters; and arroz de marisco (seafood rice).
Where: Dean Street, 26-27 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 3LL
Not Just For Tourists
You can’t beat Borough Market, it isn’t just for tourists and filling up on tasters, you can also get great seafood here too. There is such a buzz about the place, we love the atmosphere, you’ll also find us on Stoney Street, just a couple of minutes away….
What It’s Good For: Fresh oysters and pints
Favourite Dishes: Richard Haward’s fresh oysters with a glass of something bubbly
Where: Borough Market 8 Southwark Street, London Bridge SE1 1TL