Parched of mouth and with a stomach groaning from two weeks of consuming random booze, sequential roast dinners and party snacks January was crying out for a change of gear in the culinary department. What better for a fresh start in 2016 than a visit to Wright Brothers, who specialise in fresh fish and seafood with the odd burger tossed onto the menu to satisfy the carnivores.
WB have several branches dotted around London but the only other one I’ve visited is in Spitalfields. In my experience the service and food have been equally good in either location and so I would assume (unless you’re out of luck and get a stinker) that whatever I experienced this week would be roughly what you’d get in one of the other branches on any given day.
One of the advantages of WB Soho or Spitalfields is that you can have that rare London experience of al fresco dining without the delicious tang of Volkswagen’s diesel fragrance. Both have an entrance on the street (in the case of Soho, Kingly Street) with tables out back in a courtyard. The crowd on the 2nd was a smattering of workers/London loafers with a whole slew of bargain-hunters and tourists fresh from the very bowels of Carnaby Street, clutching the spoils of bore. But a genial atmosphere nonetheless.
To the food. Oysters first up; arriving on a bed of ice with a selection of sauces and relish I despatched them without mercy. Absolute yum, I could feel the zinc working its magic while I waited for the baked cod.* On the side some good bread (so important) and a bottle of decently-priced Viognier, the cod was simply well-cooked with very good veg (kale, samphire and celeriac purée). All very satisfying even if I could have done with a few chips or their like without paying a supplementary fiver.
Service was exemplary and though the bill was a little north of what I was thinking of paying for lunch that day I couldn’t say that I hadn’t got value for money. Although for the same price you could probably get something a bit more elaborate in a more atmospheric room at Bentley’s down the road, Wright’s beats Fishworks in the same neighbourhood hands down for ambience, food and service.
* While I chewed on their squishy interiors I mused on how much price inflation has affected the oyster. What was once a working class staple, gobbled whole with the shell tossed into the sticky brown Thames has now become the preserve of mid- to top-end restaurants and thus unfamiliar to a sizeable chunk of the populace. But this is a review, not an article for Past and Present so I’ll leave it someone else to do a socio-economic study of the oyster through London’s history.
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).