Royal Native Oyster Store

I had arranged to take my friend to lunch to celebrate his birthday. It fell on Monday and as he works in Central London he wanted to go out of town, this proved to be quite a challenge as lots of restaurants close on Mondays. On top of that it is a very cold February. After some researching I booked a table at The Royal Native Oyster Store in Whitstable. As we walked along the High Street towards the restaurant I was fearful that our small party of three would be the only one dining. Much to my relief several of the tables were taken.

Royal Native Oyster Store

Situated on the beach it is a great location. There was literally a warm welcome from a large fire in a wood burning stove in the bar area. As the restaurant wasn’t full we had a very good table with great views of the Estuary and beach. The rustic appearance of the dining area suits perfectly its location. Even on a February day there were a steady stream of walkers along the beach. However, as the afternoon progressed and temperatures dropped more were dressed as if visiting a gulag.

Fishing boats in Whitstable Harbour

Fishing boats in Whitstable Harbour

As it was such a cold day we all chose a warm starter of Scottish Mussels. You could have them in a cider and cream or a mariniere sauce. Both were delicious and warming. For mains two of us chose the Skate which the waitress explained had come off one of the local Whitstable boats, our companion had haddock with peas and bacon. The skate served with a caper and butter sauce was fresh and flavoursome. The haddock was a generous portion and the peas and bacon a rich contrast to the steamed fish. We chose to have a bottle of Muscadet but beer from The Whitstable Brewery is available.

Oyster store below the floor

Oyster store below the floor

Now the prices are not cheap and there is no set lunch menu. For 1/2 dozen Native Oysters it costs £16.50. They also serve Irish oysters which are considerably cheaper. To keep the oysters fresh they are stored below the floor at sea level. There is a stair well in the centre of the restaurant and you can look down into the oyster store. Mains on average are around £16.00 they do come with potatoes and vegetables so side dishes are not necessary. First courses vary from £6 – £8. The cooking is simple but uses the best possible local ingredients.

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