Born in Dayton, Ohio in the late 19th century, the Wright Brothers – Orville and Wilbur – were a couple of high school dropouts who invented a printing press, launched a daily newspaper and opened a bicycle repair shop before going on to become the true pioneers of modern aviation, astonishing engineers the world over by building and flying the first ever fixed-wing aeroplane.
But despite all this, they notably failed to run a successful seafood restaurant in London.
So it’s fallen to another set of Wright Brothers to take up the mantle and launch what has now become a small empire of fish-focussed restaurants around London, casting their net as wide as Battersea and South Kensington. The two brothers-in-law started out as seafood suppliers after tasting some literally life-changing oysters in France, and it’s since blossomed into a fully-fledged restaurant business where they serve their own hand-sourced seafood in a non-stuffy, totally accessible way.
Borough Market is where it all started, and you’ll find this branch a stone’s throw away from the market itself, a short walk along Stoney Street (appropriately). Outside you’ll see punters perched around old barrels cracking into shellfish and oysters (£1 a pop on Mon-Thurs, 3-6pm).
Inside, the dining area has a swarthy, sea-faring quality about it, with high stools perched around weather-beaten tables and dining counters overlooking the humming open kitchen. The whitewashed brick walls are adorned with just the right amount of tasteful maritime paraphernalia – hand-painted signs advertising oysters; the catch of the day scrawled on blackboard menus; and low-slung caged pendant lighting.
The chefs will be busy prepping whatever’s fresh off the boats that day, alongside the stalwarts of their menu. Naturally, there’s those oysters, sourced from five different farms, and available raw, fried with tartare sauce or grilled, with curry butter & poppadoms. Then there’s the shellfish platters loaded with Dorset clams, whelks, mussels, and a half lobster if you so wish. But it’s the cooked dishes that set the Wright Brothers apart.
Arranged in small plates, so that you can get as wide a range of flavours as possible, there’s smoked cod’s roe with boiled egg and pickled cucumber; buttery-soft scallops with a tang of garlic; grilled baby gem served with smoked sardines, and more.
If you’re not inclined to share, there’s big solo mains, too – from fish pie to moules marinière. And of course, you can’t leave without trying their little chocolate pot.
It’s got to be the Wright Brothers’ most important invention.
NOTE: Wright Brothers Borough Market is open daily from 12-10pm (5pm on Sundays). You can find out more, and book a table, right HERE.
Wright Brothers Borough Market | 11 Stoney Street, Borough Market, London SE1 9AD
Looking for a nightcap? Look for The Green Room…
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