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Recommendations for good raw bar in London?

Recommendations for good raw bar in London?

Sep 25th, 2010, 11:29 AM
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Recommendations for good raw bar in London?

On every trip I take, I try to sample local seafood, raw oysters if possible. On my last trip to London, we ate at Fish! and had good raw oysters, but I wonder if anyone knows of a more casual raw bar. A hole-in-the-wall sort of place where we can get a quick dozen raw and a pint. No white tablecloth necessary, if you know what I mean.
cynthia_booker is offline  
Sep 25th, 2010, 01:27 PM
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I'd be very careful if it were me! I only eat oysters at Scott's and Harrods
avalon is offline  
Sep 25th, 2010, 11:31 PM
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No. I may be wrong, but I think you're looking for something that no longer exists

There are lots of places round central London calling themselves oyster bars (the English for what you're looking for). Several don't have white, or any other colour, tablecloths - but that's because they're too poncey for anything so middle-class.

Chains like Caviar House, Sheekey's or Searcy's (who run the oyster bar at St Pancras) are pretty expensive: marble-topped apparent one-offs in the City, like Bentley's, eye-wateringly so. AFAIK, there just aren't any rough and ready pubs serving oysters at reasonable prices, such as you still get a bit round Galway. And last time I looked, the last remaining really casual oyster seller in Whitstable (where you used to get oysters with brown bread and tea outside licensing hours) had gone, replaced by a few good-looking gentrified places

The Loch Fyne chain of casual fish restaurants offers probably the best value for money in oysters. But with many hatcheries fished or polluted out, oysters here seem to have gone in 200 years from the cheapest source of protein for the poor (I once had a house whose foundations turned out to be a bed of shells left by the nearby canal navvies) to an absurdly expensive indulgence.

If you can shuck, you're best off buying them from a fishmonger (like the rather twee Marylebone Fishworks, the food halls at the dept stores or best of all Steve Hatt in Essex Rd ), buying a can of Guinness and taking your picnic to a park. But even there: the nearest shop for good value oysters is probably the Carrefour at the Calais entrance to the Channel Tunnel.
flanneruk is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 01:20 AM
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"A hole-in-the-wall"
Not sure what that means regarding oysters but in the UK it's where we get our money from.
Hooameye is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 05:14 AM
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I'll get flamed for this b/c it's pretty much the opposite of a hole in the wall, but Bibendum is great!


I also really enjoy Randall and Aubin


Neither of these places is a 'white tablecloth' place per say.

I've not eaten off the raw bar at Geales in Notting Hill, but I can vouch for the rest of the restaurant and they do have oysters.


The Electric in NOtting Hill is a great place for a casual lunch or brunch and you can order oysters off the all day menu

lizziea06 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 06:02 AM
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Thanks lizzie for the Geales and The Electric recs.
They both sound great.
Judyrem is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 06:51 AM
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Avalon, those places are above my pay grade. I just have a look around and buy a candy bar at Harrods.
Flanner, you are probably correct that they no longer exist. I have beat up the internet and found Loch Fyne, and one other that might be what I am after, Wright Brothers at Borough Market. Has anyone been there?
Hooameye, I will be visiting the hole-in-the-wall as you mention, for sure.
Lizzie, I found lots of reviews about Geales but they are so mixed. Plenty like it but many don't. Maybe the negatives were written by their competitors! The Electric sounds fun. I have lived my whole life not shucking, and think I will continue leaving that to the guys.
Anyway, Wright Brothers experience?
cynthia_booker is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 10:48 PM
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Geales (where every table has a white cloth) gets terrible reviews because:

a) it's not the Geales we all used to quite like, and
b) it always seems stuffed with C-list English celebs you have to pointedly ignore.

The odd occasion I've eaten there with local chums since its catastrophic (for customers) refurb, the food's been OK if bizarrely messed about with (chips given some infantile description like "yummy" on the menu, then served in girlie portions in a bloody silly GLASS!!!!). But Geales used to be a proper chippie and now it's just another restaurant with an overwrought sense of its own importance and a fatuous obsession with art direction. By the standards of London "concept" restaurants, not extortionate. But, though physically a bit of a hole in the wall, it now charges as if it wasn't (£2 for bread!!!) and has totally lost the neighbourhood character it had till about 2007.

We always eat somewhere else if we're in the area nowadays.
flanneruk is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 11:37 PM
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I've eaten there once as a completely unbiased diner and found it to be fine. I would most likely feel differently if it had replaced a cherished neighborhood institution. Despite my experience, I'd take Flanner's word for it and go elsewhere.
lizziea06 is offline  
Sep 27th, 2010, 12:09 AM
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Yes Wright Brothers at Borough market would fit your bill. we try to eat there every trip to London when visiting the market. That is even after my DH has a serving of hand dived scallops from a nearby stall!
How did I forget that!
avalon is offline  

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