I’m currently in the middle of my second London film festival and I feel like a film zombie. I was in the queue for Wild Rose and another critic asked what I was waiting to see. Could I remember the name of the film, heck, I couldn’t even remember which day it was? There were days when I prayed for the life I am leading right now – press pass, access to screenings right in my hometown. Here is the dark side – if like me you want to see it all then eating usually means shoving something sugary in your cake hole. That is not ideal and after last year I decided a change had come for the 2018 festival. This year, l I would stay hydrated (water, coffee, tea, kefir) during the screenings and then go for a proper lunch (schedule permitting) or an early supper. OMG, I am finally an adult, ha sort of because I broke my own rule of no booze. However, I can’t eat oysters without champers – it is and will always be celebratory food in my eyes. Anyway, yet another early start to see Life Itself, I was in the mood to treat myself and happy hour at Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack seemed the appropriate venue to enjoy oysters in London.
Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack is tucked away down a forgotten side street that most people rush down trying to get from Greek Street to Frith Street. Frankly, I didn’t even know this street existed but that’s the fun thing about London, you go looking for a location and discover all these bars and shops you’d never noticed even after 20 years of wild and dirty nights in Soho. It is a discreet little place, Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack so make sure you keep your eyes peeled.
I’ve been in here with friends and solo and they are always so lovely. Today the welcome was so friendly not least because I turned up at 5.30pm when I was one of the first customers. I had my pick of tables at the long bar and very attentive staff and chefs. This is a self styled oyster shack so think long and narrow painted white inside with great lighting. When it is busy there is still enough space between you and your bar companion – I’d say good elbow room.
Happy hour oysters – £1 a pop, they had me at happy hour oysters. I did break my cardinal room after reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain all those years ago and the no fish rule on a Monday. However, like I said it was the happy hour coupled with £5 for the bubbles. I sat down and ordered 3 oysters and a coupe as this was a pit stop before going on to another event. The oysters were so juicy and I can’t think of anything better to wash these down with other than bubbles. I’ve done the water thing with oysters to taste the sea and all that jazz. I prefer bubbles – so in true rebellion, I ate oysters and drank alcohol on a Monday night and sinning never tasted so good!
Baby In The Corner? Nope anywhere on the counter, I liked – it is, after all, a self styled seafood shack!
Pricey? Not in happy hour baby, £1 a pop for oysters and £5 for the bubbles!
Where? 22 Bateman Street, London W1D 3AN
Open when? 4 pm until midnight Mon – Fri and then weekends it changes – check the website!
How? It’s right in Soho but I’d say Tottenham Court Road is the easiest way to get there – a 7 mins walk or 10 mins with the help of Google maps or the old fashioned stop and ask for help.