Seeing what the year has in store isn’t easy.
We don’t all have 2020 vision.
But when Matt Lovell and Rob Hampton met in 2014 and bonded over their mutual love of seafood, they knew at the very least that it would be a fruitful friendship – and lo and behold, three years & dozens of popups later they cut the ribbon on The Oystermen.
Set in Covent Garden, and newly expanded into the neighbouring building, the space has the feel of a rustic New England seafood shack dressed up for dinner, with wood, brick, and white tile cleanly commingling over a parquet floor, and low, industrial bulbs suspended from shipping rope. All that extra space has made way for a dedicated raw bar, crafted like a boat hull by an actual shipbuilder and stacked with oysters from around the UK, with a smattering of seats reserved for walk-ins. In the back, meanwhile, there’s the open kitchen from which you can see them prepare –
Things start with – believe it or not – oysters. There’s a generous six types available, from Whitstable rocks and native to Kumamoto, and if you’re feeling frisky you can get them hot buffalo style, or tempura-battered with smoked herring caviar and Champagne aioli. After that, starters range from Portland crab thermidor with chilli and fennel; to smoked mackerel and lardo on toast and Dorset squid in an N’duja and zhoug broth, before scaling up to the mains of whole undressed crabs, braised cuttlefish orzo; roasted halibut with Jerusalem artichoke and hake with a devilled mussel velouté. And if you’ve any room to fill after all that, there’s a small cheeseboard, or roasted figs with white chocolate mousse to plug the gaps.
The wine list has been built to match the swimmers, and leans heavily towards white/sparkling, though they’ve now introduced a trio of sakes to the list, alongside an Oyster Bloody Mary shot, and their very own collaborative oyster stout on draught, made with Canopy brewery.
Truly, they’re heroes on a half shell.
NOTE: The Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen is open daily – you can find out more and make a booking HERE.
The Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen | 32 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8NA
If you’re on Henrietta Street… you can drop into Henrietta while you’re there.