London is your oyster
Summer might be dwindling fast, but the arrival of autumn brings seasonal culinary delights of its own. The native oysters around Britain’s shores are left to spawn from April to August so they’re ready for harvesting and consumption from Autumn through to the Spring. There are quite a few bars and restaurants that serve up a frequently changing selection of oysters and one of them is Wright Brothers. Aside from its Soho location, which I visited one weekday lunchtime, it has another branch in Borough Market as well as operations in Cornwall.
Wright Brothers’ Soho restaurant is divided into three spaces: the main dining room, a mezzanine level and an adjoining space around the upstairs bar. It’s a handsome place with lots of dark woods and white tiles, although the service could do with a sense of urgency. 15 minutes to take my order and another 15 to clear my empty plates and settle my bill is borderline unacceptable.
Although Wright Brothers has a fairly broad smattering of other seafood dishes available, my interest was solely in its oyster menu which changes frequently. I opted for a smorgasbord of all the oysters available on the menu that day. The French Speciales de Claire aren’t as plump or as meaty as other varieties I’ve had, but they do have a sharp, brine-ish taste to them that’s a refreshing departure from the creamier oysters I’ve had in the past.
The Jersey oysters are plumper than the Speciales and while they too have a very brine-ish taste to them, it’s much less pronounced than with the French oysters.
The Colchester oysters are meatier than the Speciales with a subtly herby tint to them and a mildly sharp tang that hits you at the back of the throat. My personal favourite though has to be the Scottish Cumbrae which have a sweet earthiness to them that’s very pleasing and quite addictive.
Despite my best efforts one cannot live on oysters alone. Besides the copious amounts of free and unsurprisingly unremarkable brown bread I also had a Heritage tomato salad. The plump, juicy, gently sweet red slices of tomato contrasted nicely with the the tarter green fruit.
Despite the patchy service, I had a fine time at Wright Brothers with its interesting and keenly priced selection of oysters. Although I’ll try and find time for all the other oyster joints in London, it’s rather hard when I have such a fine selection on my doorstep.
Name: Wright Brothers
Branch tried: 13 Kingly Street and G7/G8 Kingly Court, London W1B 5PW
Phone: 020 7434 3611
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday noon-midnight (last orders 22.45). Sunday noon-21.00 (last orders 19.45).
Reservations: highly recommended.
Total cost for one person including service and soft drinks: £45 approx.