How to Eat Oysters in London
The Quisine guide on how to eat annoying foods. Foods that insist on making your face messy or your shirt dirty. The point is for you to be able to walk into any restaurant and order whatever you like with zero fear or uncertainty. You’ll never again wonder how to eat annoying foods.
Next up is how to eat oysters, as well as where best to eat oysters in London. There are a few oyster urban myths floating around, one being that you’re supposed to let the oysters slide down your throat without chewing. We also hear one or two things about pouring the fluid out of the oysters before eating. All this is incorrect.
Before we get to the method of how to eat oysters, it’s worth noting that the flavour of oysters varies depending on where they come from. For example, river oysters feed from water that’s run off fields and farms, so they taste earthy. Oysters found out at sea, meanwhile, taste much sharper and brinier. When you see oysters on a menu they’re often named according to where they come from, so all this is great to keep in mind if you’re craving a particular taste.
How to eat oysters – the method
Step 1: Hold your oyster flat in your fingers and use your thumb to make sure it isn’t going to slide away
Step 2: If the oyster isn’t already open, use a small fork or knife to wedge into the small hole at the hinge of the shell. Wiggle and push all the way inside until the hinge breaks
Step 3: Keep hold of your knife and fork and use it to move the oyster around in its liquid-filled half shell, making sure to cut the abductor muscle that holds it tight
Step 4: (Optional step) from the wide end of the oyster, take a little sip of the juices to get a taste of what’s to come – savour and assess it
Step 5: Still from the wide end, slurp the down the oyster in one go, chewing the flesh once or twice before you swallow it
How to eat oysters – the result
Those five steps should make sure you get the fullest flavour from any type of oyster. It’s most common to enjoy oysters with a glass of bubbly, but a crisp white wine goes just as well. Then, when it comes to toppings, we’d advise sticking to lemon juice, hot sauce or a bit of vinegar. Try to avoid overdoing these so you don’t lose the taste of the oyster.
So, now you know how to eat oysters, next is where to eat them in London. If you’re looking for more seafood restaurants in London, find out our favourites here.
Seawise in Camden Town is a charming English seafood restaurant where you’ll find some mighty fine English oysters. They’re served in sixes and definitely best enjoyed as a starter before a main of the signature Seawise fish and chips. Off Chalk Farm Road in among the clothes stalls, junk stores, and cybergoth boutiques, Seawise is all about simplicity – just as oysters should be.
Unit 726 Chalk Farm Road, The Stables Market, Camden Town, London, NW1 8AH
Fancy Crab is primarily a place to head for red king crab that’s seasonally and sustainably harvested in the northern part of the Arctic Ocean, once per year and never farmed. That means some damn good quality crab, alongside which you can enjoy the Fancy Crab raw and oyster bar. Choose between Carlingford Lough or Morecambe Bay No.3 Oysters, priced per oyster and served on ice with house condiments. Utterly delightful and perfect for putting your new skills to the test.
92 Wigmore Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 3RD
Boisdale of Bishopsgate
Not exclusively a seafood restaurant but one that champions produce from all over Great Britain, Boisdale of Bishopsgate is eclectic and classy and one of the most unique places to enjoy oysters in London. The varieties available are Mersea Island rock oysters from Essex as well as Whitstable Native No. 2’s from Kent. Each are served in threes and go perfectly with Boisdale of Bishopsgate’s range of vintage champagne. Off Liverpool Street, this place is a win.
202 Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 4NR
The Crystal Palace Market
The Crystal Palace Market believes in healthy, fresh and flavoursome food, and the concept allows you to pick what you like from a vast selection of market produce and have it cooked right there in front of you. Oysters don’t need cooking, of course, so The Crystal Palace Market raw bar serves Maldon Rock oysters and Irish oysters as well as a carpaccios and tartares. These are all of a quality that’s hard to get elsewhere in this part of London.
The Crystal Palace Market, 3-7 Church Road, Crystal Palace, London, SE19 2TF