Oysters and bubbly is proper grown-up food. But, if you’re not feeling particularly flush, it can feel like an adult luxury more suited to the upper echelons than the everyday worker bees. Drop that thought right now: you can have your oysters and eat them too (all for under £12). Make a date with these five spots.
HIX Oyster and Chop House, Farringdon
Farringdon’s HIX Oyster and Chop House sure feels luxurious, but they have the common man in mind, and they know he likes to devour oysters. Head over daily between 4pm and 6pm and you can enjoy Hix’s top-class oysters for a mere £1.25 a pop with a decent glass of Prosecco Rustico or a Hix Fix cocktail. It's bound to get your night off to a good start, and there’s nothing better than fizz in daylight hours. Oysters, £1.25 each. Prosecco Rustico, £7.50 per glass, Hix Fix, £7.50.
Wright Brothers, Soho
Wright Brothers, Soho’s famous oyster house, also understands the merits of a good extended happy hour. During theirs (Monday–Friday between 3pm and 6pm) you can get oysters for as little as £1 each. £7.50 will get you a glass of Italian Fiol Prosecco in the sunny courtyard. Oysters, £1 each. Fiol Prosecco, £7.50 per glass.
Sutton and Sons, Stoke Newington
For a more down-to-earth experience, head over to Stokie’s Sutton and Sons, where you can get three battered oysters for £5.95. The only fizz you’ll want with these will be of the beer variety, so why not reach for a cool Corona with a nice squeeze of lime to cut through the yummy, heavy richness. Oysters, £5.95 for three.
The Richmond, Dalston
Home to London’s first raw food bar, The Richmond in Hackney is also home to great deals. They have £1 oyster happy hours between 6pm and 7pm Monday–Friday and 5pm-7pm on Saturday. Their selection is diverse (although two do hail from Essex) and doesn’t pull any punches — four out of five are described as ‘meaty’. Skip the bubbles altogether here and go into oyster-overload; order a £4 'oyster shooter' on the side, with spiced tomato juice, horseradish and vodka. Oysters, £1 each. Oyster shooter, £4.
The Bloody Oyster, South Bank
This travelling red bus pops up in many locations, though its favoured spot is the South Bank. Go imaginative; the grilled oysters with garlic herb butter, parmesan, bacon and brioche bun look a treat, as do the tempura oysters with curry coconut cream, crushed almonds and pickled cucumber. If you’re looking to play it safer, go for the Bloody Oyster Special: three fresh oysters and a prosecco or bloody mary for £11.50. Cooked oysters, three for £7.50 or six for £14.