On a recent Sunday afternoon strolling over London’s Tower Bridge I stumbled across a great restaurant, The Butlers Wharf Chop House. Its situated on the riverside near London Bridge and is a big British affair serving traditional food and drinks, alongside a wonderful view across Tower Bridge and the Docklands. It was mid-afternoon and in-between meals, so a snack was what was in mind along with a refreshing drink.
As soon as I spotted oysters on the menu a decision was made to take seat along the outside terrace, order a dozen and sample some stout and cider. Most people think of champagne or white wine as an accompanying drink to oysters but stout is actually a perfect fit, the subtle sweet creamy texture complimenting the salty juicy flesh of good fresh oysters. The combination of oysters with stout dates back to Victorian times when drinkers ate small oysters at their local pub in between sipping beer, ale and stouts. At the time the term ‘oyster stout’ was coined to describe a drinking session involving the mollusks. Then somewhere along the line with two and two put together came an official ‘Oyster Stout’ in which the actual oyster shells were added to the brewing process. Oyster stout is rarely seen on the shelf in your local supermarket or liquor shop, but can often be found in the bars of sea side towns.
Back to The Chop House, its worth mentioning that service is impeccable, friendly, fast and professional. It’s a real treat to sit riverside on a Sunday afternoon, eating fantastic fresh oysters, drinking local stouts, and to enjoy people-watching with the backdrop of one of London’s best architectural features. If you’re in the mood for treating yourself one weekend I highly recommend visiting Butlers Wharf, even if you are not an oyster fan there will be plenty of other delights on the menu to choose from, see sample menu here:
The idea from this recipe comes from that recent visit to the Chop House. Lots of people who wouldn’t like to eat a raw oyster are often fine with eating a cooked version, such as Asian style deep-fried oysters or rockefeller. One of my favourite cooked recipes is Oyster Kilpatrick. Salty smokey bacon and worcestershire sauce sprinkled on a cooked velvety oyster, eaten warm straight from the grill. My local supermarket has a good selection of stout, this one I hadn’t tried before and was intrigued to see it was an award-winning national champion. Brewed by the Bristol Beer Factory, this Milk Stout is full-bodied and creamy, and for those who don’t know a lot about stout, it doesn’t actually contain any milk. During the brewing process an addition of sweet and unfermentable lactose has been added, lending to its subtle sweet flavour. To read more about this process click here:
12 fresh Oysters
2 – 3 rashes smoked bacon
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
Lemon Wedges to serve
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
2. Slice your bacon rashes into thin strips – the thinner the better.
3. Place oyster halves onto an oven tray, divide bacon strips evenly over oysters, then sprinkle each oyster with a few splashes of worcestershire sauce.
4. Grill for approx. 8 – 10 minutes, depending on the size of your oysters, and until the bacon has crisped up.
5. Remove from oven, sprinkle with finely chopped parsley. Serve warm with lemon wedges and stout of your choice.