The Oystermen Seafood Bar and Kitchen is the latest addition on Henrietta Street, joining its illustrious neighbours Flat Iron and Frenchie. Set up by Matt Lovell and Robin Hampton, with a team that have previously worked at Bonnie Gull and Bumpkin, they bring experience, creativity and the freshest of seafood from all over the UK to this tiny establishment in Covent Garden.
The restaurant is small and cosy, like an upmarket seafood shack. The interiors are rustic chic with a marine touch.
An all-glass frontage shows off the brightly lit interiors and open kitchen, complete with bare-brick walls, white tiles, parquet flooring and nautically themed pendant lighting.
You cannot visit Oystermen and not try their oysters. We sampled a couple of their freshly shucked Maldon Rock salt (£2 each) to start with; they were juicy, wobbly and tasted nicely of the sea.
From the snacks section, we ordered the Smoked Cod’s Roe, Black Sesame Lavash (£3.50). The roe was really smooth and creamy (not the grainy supermarket version) and the crisp bread had sharp and smoky flavours, perfect to scoop up the ‘fishy’ dip. My bowl was licked clean by the end!
The Crab Beignet, White Meat, Lemon, Parsley (£4.50) was to die for. Soft crab and mashed potato was enclosed inside a lightly crumbed batter and served piping hot. I would definitely recommend ordering a few of those, as you definitely wouldn’t want to share!
From the starters section, my husband ordered the Bream Ceviche, Apple, Calamansi, Kosho, Jalapeño (£9). It was a light, refreshing and zesty plate of food, with juliennes of crispy apple adding texture against the citrus-cured flesh of the fish.
My Grilled Squid, Smoked Paprika, Almonds, Green Olives (£9.50) had the most unexpected and amazing combinations of texture and flavours. Smooth and slippery chunks of squid clashed beautifully against the kick of the tangy jalapeño and the crunch of the almonds.
For his main, Mr. K had the Coley Bap, Tartare Sauce, Pickles, Old Bay Fries (£12) which was a refined fish sandwich. The fish was well-cooked, lightly battered and very flavoursome. The chips, however, were slightly overdone.
I was quite looking forward to my main – the Curried Clam Chowder (£12). Unfortunately, the curry flavours were too overpowering and one could not taste or appreciate the clams in it. This feedback was duly noted by the staff, so hopefully in the days to come, they will serve a slightly pared back version.
Dessert choices were limited to two options only, but I wouldn’t mark them down for this; lets face it, fish and seafood take center stage here. We shared the White Chocolate and Yoghurt Ganache, Macerated Strawberries, Basil (£6) which was summery and delightful.
All through the evening, the staff were very friendly and chatty. I admired their ability to manoeuvre through the narrow spaces with panache, carrying plates of food with a smile, without spilling or losing balance.
Overall, the food and our experience at the newly opened The Oystermen was absolutely top notch, barring a few misses. The food here is superlative and everything is freshly prepared. This is a great place to enjoy some quality fish and seafood dishes in the heart of London.
More information can be found here.
N.B. All photos used and opinions are my own. I review anonymously and pay for my meals. The total cost of this meal was discounted as it was part of the restaurant’s soft launch period.