Now, if you are a seafood fan, and I know some who loose their 'fan' status about seafood once they move to London, as there is a chance you don't know where your seafood is sourced and the likelihood of it being 'fresh' can be questionable. However, if you end up on the Suffolk Coast there is an adorable town called Orford, which is home to a reputable yet simple little eatery called The Butley Orford Oysterage.
It is here you will regain your love of ocean food again and revel in the delectable items on offer. The menu at the restaurant (which doubles as a shop outlet for those who are after a quick take away option) is comprised of just over twenty mains (all seafood of course) and a sufficient selection of starters and desserts. Actually more desserts than many restaurants of its kind these days (sixteen to be precise).
Butley Oysters @ The Butley Orford Oysterage (photo by @neelsmcgee)
My friends and I decided to head to this eatery on a girls weekend to the coast (Shingle Street) we stopped of for our gourmet seafood adventure, three Australians and a French to boot, and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of seafood available.
When we entered The Butley Orford Oysterage we were taken aback by how cosy it was, seating a maximum of what looked like 30 people in the vicinity. Perhaps though, this was a blessing in disguise as our service, although friendly, was a little on the slow side. However did this not take away from the atmosphere or company.
We commenced our girls lunch with a selection of the Butley Oysters (a must) which were just as fresh oysters should be, chilled, creamy and delicious. These were slurped out and disposed off quite quickly, with everyone at the table satisfied by the Butley Creek beauties.
Butley Creek is the breeding ground for the towns famous oysters and these have been grown since the 1950's by Bill Pinney and his family. Not only do the Pinney's grow their own oysters but they also have a smokehouse which supplies freshly smoked fish every day, and fishing boats that provide a variety of locally caught fresh fish.
It wasn't till the mid 60's that Bill's father Richard Pinney decided to open a small restaurant for people to try his experimental smoked produce and so The Butley Orford Oysterage began. In the fifty or so years since then it has remained a family business, run by Bill and Janet Pinney and the next generation, Jodie and George Pinney.
One of the main reasons I was keen to eat at this establishment was because it was a big supporter and practiced sustainable fishing. Their methods of fishing are very environmentally friendly, using only light gear, such as pots, longlines and drift nets that only gently skim the sea bed.
Pan Fried Garlic Prawns w Fresh Bread @ The Butley Orford Oysterage (photo by @neelsmcgee)
Next on the menu, from the selection of starters were the crab cakes, these were light, fluffy and all around a good option. They were teamed with a home made jelly that complimented the crab beautifully.
Crab Cakes @ The Butley Orford Oysterage (photo by @neelsmcgee)
Closely followed was the Griddled Squid and Pan Fried Garlic Prawns with Fresh Bread. To compliment the squid there was a decent helping of rich creamy aoili, whilst the prawns were served in their sauce. These were both to die for and provided us all with almost no more room to finish off our serving of Fried Whitebait.
Teamed with a bottle of white wine, it was safe to say it was a successful lunch-in that will be remembered by us all.
The Butley Orford Oysterage is open for lunch from 12pm - 2:15pm, so do ensure you get in quick. During the holiday season I assume the venue gets even more busy so perhaps a booking is an option. I do recommend that when looking at the menu to go easy as the servings (even for starters) are large, definitely worth their reasonable price tag. Also, the venue is licensed, so team your epic seafood selection with a bottle of sparkling white and you are on your way.
Griddled Squid @ The Butley Orford Oysterage (photo by @neelsmcgee)