Robin Hancock, co-founder of Wright Brothers, who farm, supply and serve oysters the way they should be farmed, supplied and served, is going to show us how to eat oysters. Well, we know how to eat them, but we aren’t so confident about preparing them at home, even though it’s really no trickier than opening a bottle of wine or cracking a walnut.

‘The whole purpose of Wright Brothers has always been to demystify oysters,’ says Robin. ‘We wanted to narrow the cultural chasm between the English and the French.’ Oysters used to be everyday food for Londoners, with many millions of the nutritious, frilly bivalves passing through Billingsgate every year in the mid 19th century. But overfishing, pollution and harsh winters saw production dwindle to the point where they ended up as a relative luxury. ‘Our thing, when we started out in 2002, was to demonstrate that anyone can eat oysters – it’s a myth that they’re unaffordable or challenging.’

How to shuck and oyster

Robin’s top tips

  • Use an oyster knife (do not use a knife with a sharp blade).
  • Store the oysters in the fridge, wrapped in a wet tea towel. Eat them within a day or two of buying them.
  • Trad accompaniments are lemon, tabasco, red wine vinegar with chopped shallots or simply a grind of black pepper.
  • To drink, try minerally, unoaked white wine (Picpoul de Pinet, Muscadet, Chablis), a glass of Guinness, porter from Kernel Brewery, fino sherry or champagne.
  • Finally: yes, chew them a bit!

  • Wright Brothers Soho Oyster House 13 Kingly Street, London W1 (020 7434 3611);
    Wright Brothers Oyster and Porter House, 11 Stoney Street, London SE1 (020 7403 9554); Ferryboat Inn, Helford Passage, Falmouth, Cornwall (01326 250625)
    www.thewrightbrothers.co.uk; @WrightBrosSOHO

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