Oysters. Yum. 10 years ago I looked at them in horror, imagining dark corners lined with snot and ooze, briny jellified mush that slipped about your teeth like snail goo. Oh how wrong I was. Oh divine bivalve! Birthplace of pearls and orgasm-inducing aphrodisiac. Sweet, fleshy perfection. Etc. Etc. And so to Wright Bros!
This was the first proper dining out for myself and new blog-noshing partner M. Another impassioned lover of the oyster-fish, the boy sure knows his seafood. Wright Bros. in Soho is on three levels, with a street-facing restaurant at the front, a mid-level back room and a basement open-kitchen and oyster bar where you can sit and watch them shuck like no tomorrow. The décor of whitewashed bricks, dangling exposed lightbulbs and dark “Cheers”-style bar stools and tables gives the place an odd feel somewhere between an 1950s Ealing fishmonger’s and a trendy tapas bar. We likey.
The choice of oysters was largely British, which was refreshing – and a nice list of aperitif suggestions on the menu would please anyone wanting to stray from the Muscadet or Guinness without knowing where to start. We had a Henri Bardouin to wash down our Colchesters, Dorsets, Maldon rocks and Cumbraes.
Next up was a whole Dorset crab, delicious.. Brown shrimps, which I rarely see the British eat, but hoover-up by the pint whenever I am in France as you can pop them in your mouth whole like popcorn. We had razor clams – hmm, tad overcooked, but well seasoned… excellent whitebait. We drank Muscadet (yes, predictable, but very good). The staff were charming and chatty, although I cringed when we were asked if we needed help to understand the menu concept. Concept is a word that should be erradicated from the restaurant lexicon. If I need a menu “concept” explained to me, then I have either lost my marbles, or to be blunt, you’ve lost me as a punter. The last thing I want to waste time doing when I’m about to eat is have stage-fright and cold sweats when I look – befuddled – at the menu.
But, menu complications aside, this is a charming place to grab a plateau de fruits de mer. And the Red Lion pub next door isn’t a bad place for a post-oyster pint of stout either…