If you read Marina O'Loughlin's evocative review of Vuurtoreneiland (Lighthouse Island) in the Sunday Times earlier this year and wondered, 'why doesn't London have something similar?' - well consider that question answered. From this Autumn, the critically rated Native restaurant is relocating to an island off the Essex coast. They'll be opening a restaurant on Osea Island, 45 minutes outside London.
Like better-known Mersea, Osea is a tidal island, meaning it's cut off from the mainland by the tide. So you'll be able to choose whether to arrive at Native by car or by boat.
The whole thing sounds VERY special - from pre-dinner drinks around a beach campfire before heading inside to enjoy a tasting menu in the islands converted World War I torpedo store. And if you want to go the full nine yards, book in for the Forage & Feast series where you'll meet Native founders Ivan and Imogen on the island ahead of dinner for a two-hour foraging tour.
As for the food, well that'll be largely sourced from on and around the island itself. So you might have Blackwater Oysters smoked over fire or local wild bass flavoured with fennel and lavender from the Osea allotments and desserts made from foraged sea buckthorn.
Wines, selected by Imogen, will focus on organic, biodynamic and low-intervention choices, and even the cocktails sound enticing with a Negroni made with Osea island vermouth.
With only 30 seats, the restaurant - which will be open from Thursday - Saturday in the evenings and Sunday in the early afternoon - is bound to be a hot ticket. If you can't get a dinner booking, it'll also be worth a trip there to eat at the Native Oyster shed which will be a seafood shack specialising in freshly shucked Blackwater & West Mersea oysters served along with Nyetimber.
More about Native
Where is it? Osea Island, Maldon, Essex CM9 8UH
When? 22 October 2020.
How to book: Book online here.
Subscribe to be the first to get the news from Hot Dinners