Food & Drink
A selection of fresh and dressed oysters at The Oystermen, Covent Garden

Review: The Oystermen, Covent Garden

When you hear the people sitting next to you describe what they’ve just eaten as “the best meal they’ve ever had in London”, you know you’re in for a treat.

And a treat is exactly what Thursday evening was. 

Despite the minus temperatures, my sister Lizzie and I wrapped up warm and headed to The Oystermen in Covent Garden – a seafood restaurant which prides itself on provenance, sustainability and old-school hospitality.

The restaurant, which is located on Henrietta Street, is a short walk from Covent Garden tube station.

It’s small and cosy, making it the perfect place to visit on a blustery winter’s evening when you’re looking for seriously good seafood. 

We started with a glass of bubbles and a tempura oyster, which was served on champagne aioli with smoked herring caviar. 

I am not exaggerating when I say it was one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten – and probably the most indulgent, too. 

This was followed by two cooley gold oysters which were buttery and subteley sweet. 

We then tried ponzu oysters, which were dressed with champonzu (think soy sauce, citrussy-ness), wasabi and micro herb and while the wasabi certainly packed quite a punch, the combination of the sweet and salty sauce with the potent wasabi worked magic. 

For starters, we went for the cod’s roe mousse which was served with sea salt focaccia – which was creamy, fishy and salty in equal measure.

The focaccia was also some of the nicest bread I’ve ever had. 

We also tried a sea bream aguachile, and I particularly enjoyed the texture of the fish, partnered with the crunch of cucumber and radish, as well as a grilled jumbo tiger prawn served with chorizo ragù. 

The depth of flavour from the chorizo ragù contrasted with the mild, grilled flavour of the prawn was phenomenal. 

For the main event, we opted for skate wing which was served in shrimp-y brown butter, squid-ink risotto and hispi cabbage in anchovy butter. 

The skate wing was meaty and the saltiness of the brown, shrimp butter was divine. 

We also shared squid-ink risotto, which was very tasty but a bit too rich for me, and hispi cabbage cooked in anchovy butter.

The combination of the sweetness from the cabbage and the salty anchovies was delicious. 

We managed to make room for a panna cotta which was served with a kumquat marmalade, and thank God we did!

The mellow, milky flavour of the panna cotta partnered with the bitter kumquat marmalade with delicious, and the perfect end to a phenomenal meal. 

While I can’t compete with Giles Coren who described it as “the best new fish restaurant to have opened in yonks” when it opened back in 2017, I can tell you it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had thanks to the delicious food and very lovely staff. 

And a final note, kudos to whoever was in charge of the playlist – it just kept getting better and added to the overall vibe of the evening. 

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