BZW and the building it occupied on Angel Lane have long been consigned to history. There is now another investment bank there (Nomura) and another source of social entertainment, the Oyster Shed.
The wonderfully named Oyster Shed, is not, as I imagined, a former fishing shack, lovingly restored to a seafood-style gastropub with sea views to die for. But given that you’re in the City of London rather than, say, Whitstable, with all of its constraints of modern architecture (functional, yes; cosy, I’m not sure), the team have done a great job in making the Oyster Shed a destination.
The Oyster Shed benefits from fab floor-to-ceiling glass windows that run across the front of the pub, ensuring unrestricted views of the Thames and the converted wharfs and warehouses along on the river. There is a sea bound theme running through the bar, with fisherman designs that manage to stay just above pastiche level. Just. However, the mix of pine furniture and blue and white cushions, along with high ceilings and a lot of space - a downstairs, a mezzanine and a private dining room – make the Oyster Shed a lovely addition to the area.
We ate on the mezzanine level which has its own small bar, deep comfortable sofas, a large private room for hire, and even better views over the Thames. Settling into a delicious bottle of New Zealand Pinot Noir, we started with the pulled pork and spicy apple sauce, and salt cod fritters. The fritters were well seasoned and cooked to perfection. The Northerner’s pork was a little disappointing – if only because the sauce was sweeter than we thought it was going to be.
For our mains, the Northerner opted for the cod with new potatoes, while I went for the steak and oyster pie with a side of chips. My pie was fabulous – generous lashings of steak, made salty rich with oysters, topped by a lovely thin-crust pastry. Alas, it wasn’t the Northerner’s night, as her cod lacked seasoning, while her vegetables were rather tasteless. The dish looked beautiful but lacked depth of flavour. For dessert we shared the treacle tart and clotted cream. I’m not normally a fan of this, but the Oyster Shed version was delicious. The pastry was biscuit-like in texture, while the tart filling was rich, without be overly sweet.
The staff were excellent – charming, efficient, and helpful. The punters were very City – right down to the shots and drunken dancing – but they gave the place a buzzing and lively atmosphere. It was fun, in other words.
Despite the menu hiccups for the Northerner, we both liked the place a lot. Great staff, a superb selection of drinks and food, and views to die for. I suspect that the Oyster Shed will evolve more into a party bar, rather than a restaurant alternative. Apparently they are looking to get a licence to open all weekends in the summer, which will make an already popular place even more so. The Oyster Shed has everything in place to become a feature on the City social circuit, and become somewhere that both City newcomers and veterans will enjoy.