Sunday, 5 October 2014

Wright Brothers, Spitalfields, London

One of the restaurant's two entrances.
By: Mrs Robot

London, where the streets are paved with gold!

Or rather, London, where the streets are lined with restaurants and I never have the slightest idea which ones are going to be good and which bad. Luckily, when I went to the Big Smoke on Wednesday for the press preview of the British Library's 'Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination' exhibition (full review on Crinoline Robot) I was meeting Mi Mi Aye for lunch, and she picked the restaurant. I'd anticipated a trip to City Caphe but she suggested Wright Brothers - somewhere I'd probably never venture in on my own. I accepted.

Now, I have a love/hate relationship with seafood. I'm not a fan of massively fishy flavours. In fact, after broccoli cooked in a sauce that was roughly 50% chillies and 50% catbreath in Burma, I couldn't bear anything fishy for days, which was a bit of a sod in a country that uses fish sauce as a basic condiment. However, I do like sushi and sea fish, and figured if I was going to go to a fish restaurant, it might as well be in the company of someone who really knows their fish. Plus, if you never try anything new you'll be eating baby food for your whole life, and there'll be enough time for that when I'm 103 and toothless.

My first impressions were that the restaurant - we met at the Spitalfields branch - felt really welcoming. Probably because it had a bar, and that's always a good start where Mr Robot and I are concerned. In fact, the whole place, with its wooden floor, wide marble bar, brick floors and cool atmosphere, had a pleasingly informal, publike feel, though most pubs don't have tanks full of lobsters and crabs swimming around.

Mi Mi's fish platter - lots of whelks and cockles as well as oysters.

Mi Mi and I decided to eat at the bar, perched on leather-topped stools. You could have different sorts of dishes - giant seafood platters, portions of individual types of seafood, smaller plates, and things from the specials board. It's a great way of doing things as fish can be expensive, and this way if a group of people goes everyone can find something to suit their budget.

Fried baby squid, brown shrimp and prawns.
Mi Mi made up her own seafood platter as she likes oysters. I opted for one dish with fried baby squid, prawns and brown shrimps, and one of mojama. I always love the puntillitas (baby squid) when we have it in Spain, so it was a treat to get it over here, and I'd never tried brown shrimps or mojama but had always wanted to. To be honest I wasn't taken with the texture of the shrimps, which you eat shell and all, though I'd known that might be a problem for me when I ordered them. When you order something completely new, there's always a risk it might not be quite to your taste. Certainly they seemed extremely fresh and were beautifully cooked. Dipped in the garlic mayonnaise, they were jolly tasty, and I ate the lot anyway. The squidlets and prawns disappeared fairly rapidly too...

Mojama - Spanish air-dried tuna. Tuna ham, if you like

The mojama was lovely, not too soft or too chewy, and perfectly complimented by tomato, caperberries and flat-leaf parsley.

There was a really nice pudding selection, but both of us opted to have stichelton cheese and grapes instead. I am a fiend for cheese, and it was really good, with plenty of blue and a good, earthy rind.

I really enjoyed my trip to Wright Brothers. It's not the sort of place I'd have chosen, and it can be refreshing to step away from the norm and try something very different. I'd go there again, but I'd probably keep it as a lunchtime place. It'd be perfect on a hot summer day. I don't really appreciate seafood enough to luxuriate over a costly seafood platter on an evening out, though if shellfish and finnyfish are your thing, you'd probably adore it.

1 comment:

  1. Mrs Robot, you make me laugh out loud (sauce of chillis and catbreath, yes!). Like you, I feel that one should at least try comestibles that other humans love--for me, the challenge is to actually chew that mouthful, and really try to taste it without prejudice. On a trip to Normandy some years ago with my son and his fiance I resolved to try a platter of odd shellfish--whelks and cockles and god knows what else. i love the memory of that plate in front of me and my feeling of bravery at tackling it. I can't say I loved it, or hated it, but I did love the idea that I was eating food that many humans before me were more than happy to have. I hope that doesn't sound "precious," it just seemed adventurous to me. Regards, Kate in Oregon