Some of you may know that I have a bit of an obsession with oysters. I absolutely adore these rather odd looking slimy ocean delicacies, some of you may have other ideas about oysters. They’re meant to be an aphrodisiac not least because of how they look once open – apologies for that, I won’t say any more other than let your imaginations figure that one out. They’re full of zinc which is a mineral needed for sexual wellbeing, I rest my case! I used to buy oysters from my local Waitrose and hand the task to Mr LmP to shuck, yes, I do have a proper oyster knife however never very keen on this, he soon stopped obliging sighting “they don’t taste as good as in a restaurant” as an excuse. I used to love the odd weekend at home with a chilled glass of Chablis, Sancerre or my favourite champagne and 6 oysters each. I make a mean shallot and raspberry vinegar dressing or plain simple tabasco and after frustratingly opening these 12 sea gems with perhaps a stray bit of shell, we’d both devour them and think, “ah yes, they’re truly wonderful things”
What could I do now that he semi-refuses to oblige? I think one day perhaps starting with this weekend, I will surprise him with 12 gorgeously big oysters to shuck meanwhile, last week on a typical miserable wet British February winters’ day I happened to be in London and I decided I WOULD have oysters. Always suffering Monday Morning Blues ever since I was little when school beckoned closely followed by work, Monday Motivation for me now is doing things that I enjoy making the start of the week more bearable. Last Monday, it meant a shopping trip to Primark for some essentials for my son, I decided I would then head over to Selfridges to enjoy a much-needed hit of oysters. I know I had oysters literally two days prior after visiting Bonnie Gull in Soho on a date-night, but it just wasn’t enough to satisfy my craving; I was on a mission to have more oysters and I didn’t care if anyone thought it was an excessive treat.
So, on the computer I went, and I tweeted tagging Selfridges in my tweet, they immediately responded with a “we’re waiting to see you later” and that was that, I would most definitely be heading to Selfridges’ seafood counter after Primark.
I was very excited as I hopped on the Met line train at the prospect of oysters and champagne.
Primark, ever shopped there? It’s very arduous and quite a traumatic experience fighting hordes of people, usually holiday makers taking advantage of this very cheap store which is great for basics such as t-shirts, socks and other lower-garment bits and pieces. Trawling Primark wasn’t as bad as I expected but that’s probably because it was Monday, I had a rather heavy bag which wound me up slightly especially as across the road is Holland & Barrett and a large Superdrug and I needed to stock up on some vitamins and my much-loved Mixa body creme which only Superdrug stock. This weighed me down even more, I hate shopping trips like this, it takes the enjoyment out of shopping, so I was rather frustrated when I entered Selfridges. I entered via the revolving doors with none other than my weakness in front of me, perfumery, so I decided I would try again a perfume I have been toying with for the last few months – “shall I, shall I not buy” scenario in my head, I mean it is £195 so not your every day scent purchase which is probably why still haven’t bought it. When everyone at home commented once again as they usually do when I try this perfume, my mind was made up, I will indulge and treat myself to this utterly gorgeous highly addictive scent, what is it I hear you say? Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540, so I’ve made up my mind, I will finally buy this in time for my forthcoming trip to Paris. I love niche perfumes; the allure is that not many people know of them and the price dictates who purchases them. Another one is the house of Creed, love, love, love their fragrances, my husband’s favourite is Aventus, such a manly, sexy scent, it’s utterly gorgeous but enough of perfume, I was here on a mission and that was oysters! Although smelling Baccarat Rouge made me feel so much better.
I happily headed down to the food hall on the ground floor which is a food lovers’ dream, I thoroughly recommend a leisurely half-hour here for any foodie, Lola’s Cupcakes can be found here but enticing as they were, cupcakes was not what was on my mind. There it was, Selfridges’ Champagne & Oyster Bar by Caviar House & Prunier offering a variety of seafood obviously the stars are oysters and a connoisseur’s selection of wines and champagne, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Resembling a Parisian bistro of sorts with burnished gold and black bar stools, it’s right up my street of course. Bar stools are the only seats here, probably about 15 or so in total obviously situated around the seafood counter where you can see the artists at work shucking oysters with such dexterity and speed, I’m in awe.
The menu is quite vast with various seafood cocktails, smoked salmon served in a variety of ways, a Foodie’s Corner with some appetising delights such as my favourite duck foie gras with ginger and apple chutney, an array of caviar, Coronation king crab & mango, lobster salad and this really caught my eye, Burratina (Italian Burrata) served with 10g of caviar. I’ve never eaten caviar ever before and it’s something Mr LmP says we ought to do and I agree, the man next to me, a very distinguished looking young Japanese/Korean (I assume) business man not only ordered 6 oysters and champagne, he also ordered this burratina with caviar! I was so jealous, I had to ask what it was like which he said was “very delicious”. That’s it, next time I’m having that too.
My oysters are English native Jersey rocks, six of them for £20 accompanied by lemon and a bright pink shallot vinegar, I assume it must be raspberry vinegar as it looks like one I make at home. You are also offered bread and butter which I always gratefully receive – lightly brown toasted bread with two rounds of creamy butter, naturally, I ordered a flute of champagne which is £13.50. My oysters are delicious as I expected, I try not to devour them all at once instead I enjoy them slowly taking an oyster sprinkled with shallot dressing in my mouth and enjoy the sublime salty-sea briny taste and then a sip of champagne, I’m in absolute heaven. I love that Selfridges isn’t at busy as it normally is mid to late week, there are plenty of seats at the bar even at 1:30pm. How can I make this momentous occasion last longer, sadly I can’t unless I order more oysters, alas they’re all gone but I thoroughly enjoyed them. I finished with a cup of silky smooth filter coffee and sit back to contemplate what had just happened, enjoying oysters and champagne on a Monday? how naughty of me. There are many iconic London seafood restaurants that do a seafood take on “Happy Hour” usually between 3:00pm-6:00pm where you can get an oyster for £1.00 and a reduced glass of bubbly whether that’s champagne or prosecco for instance The Wright Brother’s near Kingly Street do this and BonnieGull where I ate last week have £1.00 oysters and a glass of Prosecco for £5, you can’t go wrong but at midday, it’s Selfridges all the way for me.
Selfridges is a store with many restaurants and café’s but this one is undoubtedly my favourite. Everyone should enjoy and deserves a treat now and again and while shopping in London, I vow to make this a more regular occurrence and why not? I even had some on my skincare shopping trip to Selfridges yesterday which turned out to be an even better idea as upon leaving, I was confronted with snow! but safe to say, I was deliriously happy knowing I had just consumed the best lunch ever.
Oyster’s at Selfridges I decide are always a good idea. With that in mind and craving nicely satisfied, I headed off home, me and my secret guilty illicit affair with oysters.
Caviar & Prunier
400 Oxford St
London W1A 1AB
0800 123 400