September marks the start of Britain's native oyster season. Here we pick out some of our favourite spots in town to enjoy a platter of the briny bivalves.
The Oystermen - Covent Garden
This new Covent Garden spot marks the first permanent site for The Oystermen. Friends Matt and Rob first came up with the idea for their seafood business when shucking oysters at Matt's wedding.
Find the daily oyster specials on their blackboad, or order their Buffalo Oysters with spicy buffalo sauce and kosho for £6.50
Neptune - Bloomsbury
At Bret Redman's new Bloomsbury restaurant half a dozen Kumamoto, Blackwater or Morecambe Bay oysters are £16. They also appear again in the rather splendid seafood platter (£38).
Prawn on the Lawn - Islington
Prawn on the Lawn serves top notch oysters alongside its larger menu. That menu changes depending on the season, but for oysters look at around £2.75 for Porthilly rocks (£3 if you get them deep-fried with garlic creme fraiche). They're on their summer hols until 4 September.
Bentley's - Mayfair
Ever the classic oyster venue choice, Bentley's boasts that it shucks more oysters than any other London restaurant - around 1000 a day on busy days. Perch yourself at the original marble oyster bar and choose from wild natives and rocks starting at around £2.50. There's also a new oyster season special of two native oysters, two rock oysters and a glass of Champagne for £18. Upstairs in the grill you can also try their 'hot rocks' served Rockefeller-style or with garlic or chorizo.
If you want to get more serious, then book a spot at one of their regular oyster masterclasses on a Saturday. For £65 you get champagne on arrival, oyster master class and tasting with sommelier matched wines and take home a goody bag with apron, recipe cards and oyster knife.
Sweetings - The City
The original Sweetings opened in Islington back in 1830 before eventually moving into Queen Victoria Street and it's been serving up shellfish to Londoners ever since. It helps to be living or working in the City to eat here - it's only open on weekdays for lunch. But if you do make it down, half a dozen West Mersea Oysters start at £16.95.
The Cow - Notting Hill
Tom Conran's Westbourne Park Road gastropub has all the fripperies you could want from a place with such an obvious focus on beer and oysters. Start your meal off with The Cow Special - a pint of Guinness or glass of wine and six oysters for £19. Oh and you might spot David Beckham having a pint in the corner as this is one of his locals.
Randall & Aubin - Soho
There's nothing quite like the classic platter at this bustling Soho stalwart. If you want to mix it up a bit, try their platter of mixed rocks from France, England and Ireland at £18.50 for eight. Native oysters are £22 for six in season.
J Sheekey Atlantic Bar - St Martin's Court
Right in the heart of the West End, the oyster bar at Sheekey's is a useful spot as (unlike the main restaurant) you can pop in without a reservation. If the weather's good, head for their terrace with their current deal of six Jersey pearl oysters and a glass of Delamotte champagne for £19.75.
Well and Bucket - Bethnal Green
An East End pub given a Shoreditch-style makeover, the menu here is all about the oyster. You can start with three Morecambe Bay or Durgarvan oysters for just £7.50 - for 80p more they can be topped with oyster leaf and soused cucumber and crisp seaweed. Or drink your oyster as a Bloody Mary oyster shot (£5). Downstairs, on the way to the loo, look out for the entrance to the hidden 5CC Cocktail Club.
Wiltons - St James
One of London's oldest restaurants (it's older than the USA basically), this St James stalwart serves up half a dozen West Mersea Natives No 1 for £24. Alternatively you can have them done Rockefeller, Kilpatrick or Beau Brummell (chilli sauce and fried in breadcrumbs) style for £19.75 for six. They've just reopened after a few weeks redecoration, just in time for the oyster season.
Wright Brothers - Soho, Borough, Spitalfields, Battersea Kensington
It's no surprise that the secret to a great spot to eat oysters is an impeccable source and the Wright Brothers' oysters are right up there. We love their Spitalfields spot. It's pretty much all counter dining with an interesting selection of oysters. Even handier, you can get a platter of oysters from there through Deliveroo (if you live within catchment) - 12 shucked oysters are £36.
Other places to try oysters in London
Remedy - Fitzrovia
Pop into this lovely wine bar between 4 and 6pm from Monday to Saturday for their happy 'hour' menu, when oysters are £1 each and you can add on a glass of wine or fizz for £4.
Hix Oyster and Chop House - Farringdon
A trio of rock oysters here starts at £8.75 or try something a little different and go for the Orchard Farm pork chop with a herb baked oyster and garden salad for £15.50.
Fish Market - Broadgate
Set in one of the oldest surviving East India warehouses in the City, this laid-back restaurant features all manner of shellfish on its menu. Right now rocks are £2.75 each.
Sutton and Sons - Stoke Newington and Islington
This modern chipper offers one of the best oyster deals to be had in London - half a dozen Maldon oysters, freshly shucked for £8.95.
Brady's - Wandsworth
This popular South London seafood restaurant serves up a range of oysters platters - look at their boards for the market prices.
Bucket - this newish Westbourne Grove restaurant is now doing a £1 oyster 'hour' where oysters are a pound a pop when you're ordering a beer, cocktail or wine from 4-7pm on weekdays and 4-6pm at the weekend.
London Shell Co - Dorset estuary oysters are £2.50 each on the lunch menu of this narrowboat restaurant.
Chiltern Firehouse: Check out the courtyard of the A-list hangout for their popular oyster cart. It serves three types of oyster daily, two British and one French. Maldon and West Mersea Rock oysters from Essex are on the menu at the moment as well as Loch Ryan, Fal and Belon Natives.
All prices correct as of 29 August 2018