Sunday, 18 May 2014

Paella and Oysters at Borough Market

Plaid Boy and I seem to have started a mini-tradition for the first day of his London visits. His usually takes the red eye flight from Singapore and arrives very early in the morning here so by the time he gets to my house it's time for a bit of grub. He'd rest for a bit and then we'd set off for brunch at Borough Market.

First, we'd go to Cafe Brood for paella. Borough Market can feel like a labyrinth of food stalls so as to not confuse you, it's the one in Dragon Court next to Southwark Cathedral (not the one in Middle Road which serves all sorts of curry alongside). The golden rice glistens in a giant skillet, cooked in delicious stock and heavily peppered with fresh seafood and chicken pieces. They serve it with some dressed onions and peppers to add a bit of crunch and aroma. The standard paella (£5.90) is already substantial as is but you can also add crevette prawns (£9.95) or chorizo (£7.50) if you're feeling peckish.

Plaid Boy always goes for the extra chorizo. The smoky meat is juicy and fatty, slightly sweet and spicy. It rounds up the flavour profile of the paella to an absolute pleasurable state. Delicious.

Trust me, every spoonful is a step closer to the streets of Spain.

And then we move to oysters.

Seriously think we've found some of the best oysters in the world right there in Borough Market. But more of that in a bit. 

On his visit last year, after the market refurbish and movement of stalls, we had difficulty finding our favourite oysters so we ended up trying the ones from Shellseekers Fish & Game who also sell fresh finds from the sea.

People really queue for their scallops topped with bacon bits. I'm a fan of scallops but quite frankly, this did not move me.

The oysters (£1.50) are smaller than the medium-sized ones we get from our favourite stall.

That said, they're very fresh. I liked them, but something was just amiss and I can't quite put a finger on it. Perhaps it's an atmospheric issue, or the bed of ice they serve the oysters on, or the vinaigrette I'm not too keen on. 

We realised that our favourite oyster boys, Richard Haward's Oysters, have relocated their stall to a bigger (and proper) one along the Stoney Street entrance. They even have proper signs, wall decor, tables along the road! Yay for them!

You can buy their oysters shucked, hinged, or closed to take home. We usually go for the 6 for £8 medium oysters deal.

The medium oysters are MASSIVE. By the time we found them on that visit, we've eaten four oysters each already. But we just could not resist (and for the sake of tradition). 

I mean... how can you resist that?! They're fat, creamy to the taste and very fresh - no need to serve on ice! 

RH oysters are so fresh and so delicious you can have them plain or with just a wee squeeze of lemon to feel one with the ocean. While you're at it, you can wash 'em down with a glass (or two) of prosecco, preferably from Borough Wines.

Or have them with either their red vinegar dressing or white balsamic dressing. Topped with chopped shallots and finished with drops of hot sauce.

Plaid Boy once found a teensy pearl in one of their oysters. Can't guarantee you'll find one in yours...

...but I can guarantee, however you choose to have these oysters, some sort of serious gastronomic orgasm that would really blow your mind.

If you haven't yet, GO visit Borough Market and head straight for these two highly recommended stalls. You'll soon make a tradition of it, I promise.

Cafe Brood on Urbanspoon


  1. That paella is amazing, isn't it? I took my parents there a few years ago, and they also loved it. I've never eaten oysters before (probably because everyone tells me they're a "love or hate" food, and I've met more people who hate them than people who love them), but now, at least, I know where to get some when I feel ready to take the plunge!

    1. Oooh, I hope you get to try the oysters! I've had some friends who've tried oysters the first time as well and though there were some gagging involved, most of them are now oyster eaters. =) I really recommend Richard Haward's oysters - at least you're guaranteed that what you're trying is super fresh.

  2. I LOVE oysters! BUT I got maaaajor food poisoning from one bad oyster a year ago and I've been too scared to eat them again :( P.S missed you today at the brunch! hope everything was ok x

    1. Yikes! If that happened to me I wouldn't touch oysters either.
      Thanks, I missed you guys too. All's stable now... will know more tomorrow! x
      Can't wait to see you (and talk about how small the world is!)