Now in Season – Mussels
Mussels are fantastic right now. Breathe in the tantalizing sea-fresh steam. Savour it. And then get to the task at hand; extracting succulent offerings from gaping shells and soaking up the fragrant broth with pieces of crusty-soft bread for a complete sensory food experience.
March is a bit of an intermittent month. Everyone is waiting for the full bounty of produce that arrives with spring, but it’s still early enough in the year to feel the heels of winter in the air. However, the past few months have been much milder than usual, which has resulted in a few spring favourites cropping up earlier than previous years.
One of these ingredients is wild garlic (or ramsons), which is now growing in woodlands all over the UK – you should be able to smell the flowers if you’re near some.
The first stalks of asparagus are beginning to appear in places like the Wye Valley, but it’s best to wait a few more weeks until they really start to taste their best. In the meantime, stock up on the last of this year’s purple sprouting broccoli, one of the only British-grown greens you can find in the supermarket at the moment.
British-grown chicory is a good choice at this time of year. It’s cultivated in the same way as forced rhubarb – grown in the dark over three weeks – and adds a welcome burst of bitter freshness to seasonal dishes.
Joy of Oysters
Eating raw oysters is a uniquely invigorating experience; a bit like battery-licking for grown-ups. It seems that we can taste the elements they contain: zinc, calcium, copper, iodine, magnesium.
Served as a starter on our À la carte Menu OYSTERS on ice with shallots, red wine vinegar and sweet chilli dip.
And no other food conjures up a physical feature of the Earth as strongly as a bracing, salty, tangy oyster: the essence of the sea in edible form.
Oysters should be stored at a low temperature and smell briny-fresh. The shells should be clean, bright, tightly-closed and unbroken.
Size, shape and flavour vary considerably. The best from British and Irish waters are considered to be those from Colchester, Whitstable, the Helford and Galway. Natives are pricier and generally thought of as the superior oyster. Pacific or rock oysters tend to have a frillier shell and smaller, milder meat.
Shells found on archaeological sites indicate that people were eating oysters 6,000 years ago (how did they open them without an oyster knife?).
For much of recorded history they have been regarded a simple form of sustenance, punctuated by occasional periods in which they reached the status of delicacy. In Britain they shifted from stomach-filler to luxury food with the arrival of the Romans, largely disappeared from the diet after they left, before returning to favour sometime around the eight century.
By Victorian times, pickled oysters were a common food of the poor in London (and in the American South in the early twentieth century the Po-Boy, a type of sandwich featuring oysters in a baguette, fuelled blue collar workers). The era of cheap oysters came to an end quite abruptly after oyster beds became exhausted due to overfishing and pollution.
We Love Seafood
We have a deep respect for the fruits of the sea, which in turn influences everything we do.
Since 1996, we’ve have been serving contemporary, future-friendly seafood to hoards of adoring locals in Lancaster and beyond.
Our philosophy is simple – to serve great food and support a more sustainable future for all our seafood. That’s why we serve the best possible seafood from ethical and sustainable sources, and cook them with respect and love.