The above was intended to be the original title of this week’s review and remains so. I had written it in my head completely, however it has been edited to the point of non recognition. Patty you can keep your dignity but I feel happy enough to admit I can be a cringe-worthy and embarrassingly misplaced show off, so here is a taster of what should have been, whilst the official slightly less edgy update follows under that.
———We get talking to the guy next to us. Everything is very civilised and upbeat and friendly. He is quiet and I tend to be a little loud. It is habitual behaviour and nothing I am particularly proud of, I just accept it. I am not sure why, but on more than one occasion I hear myself blurting out the most crazy stuff and am then left pondering why I said it, and what relevance whatsoever it has to me now. Deep breath. As part of my ‘most important information about Me’ I feel compelled to tell everyone I meet in exalted tones, ‘I am a trained beautician’. And . So. What! The truth is that I last gave someone a treatment in 1979 (which is also the same year I gave up ironing; another of my nine virtues I extol to anyone in earshot) so I always astound myself when I hear these dreadful words spewing out of my mouth. I question firstly why am I so proud of that, like ever since that time I have never accomplished another single thing of note (which is absolutely not true) and why I deliver it in a whiny 17 year old teenage show-offy manner. Does anyone think that, having never met me before and whilst sizing me up, the balance was leaning heavily to one side until this clincher is served? That is it! That is what I wanted to hear! She is a trained beautician. Now it makes perfect sense! I say it to everyone and to good friends even now, so it is not something I target to a particular gender or circumstance. It is an absolutely obscure thing. And what a sad little aspiration and admission. Perhaps I feel more self conscious than I realise and have to point out that even though presented to the world is a slightly shabby chic, fraying around the edges, middle aged woman, I have to let the world know there was a time when I actually gave a shit about how I looked and my cosmetic background was backed up in hard evidence. But it is not a new thing. It has been going on way before the middle aged thing. Who knows but yep, that is what I said, again, to this complete stranger. He looked suitably unimpressed. Perhaps by making this awfulness public I can finally put my teenage angst and abilities behind me and perhaps drag myself slightly more up to date…..say, the late 80s. Well, I cannot bring it forward to right now can I, overnight? Shameless and slightly pathetic and simple. Now onto the review proper. ———
And so it came to pass we made it to the last of the three Wright Brothers establishments that we hadn’t visited. And as it turns out, it was the first in the chain. It is nestled in the hustle and bustle of Borough Market. And hustling and bustling it was, with escapees from the surrounding offices and some tourists thrown into the mix. The place is small and consists of a long bar with several high tables and even though it was an autumn night the fans were spinning and the windows open and it was still warm. I arrived earlier than I had intended and was shown to my stool. I ordered a martini – gin of course – and was handed a menu and a quick rundown on specials and procedures. It is a very slick operation as are all the Wright Brothers establishments. Again the staff are spot on. They are knowledgeable, friendly, approachable and you never have the feeling that any of their behaviour is less than genuine. The management has struck gold with their hiring specifications and hit the target unerringly. I sat and closed my eyes and I could have been in 17th century olde London, enjoying ageless noisy and cheerful revelry from the drinkers and eaters in one of the oldest parts of this wonderful city.
Patty arrived and we sat deciding on our choices for the evening. There were several options for oysters but that was narrowed down to the Jersey Royals after the waitress said they were the only ones that weren’t creamy at the moment. We need to get back into the cool water for that to change and as it has been the longest warm spell in London this year that I can remember, who knows when that might be. We ordered half a pint of prawns – always loved that quaint English tradition – along with a whole crab. We knew we were in for a treat. Patty let slip she was reflecting on eating oysters as she had been pondering the fact that they are alive when you eat them, and much like me in Portugal, questioned the whole thing. However I got over that tentative thought and suspect (and hope) Patty does as well. So that left me five of the oysters and she did have one and they were very good. All the food was served at the same time so our little bench space was crowded to overflowing with seafood and it was decadent and delicious. We ran through our respective weeks and compared notes, which as usual, were pretty much in parallel.
During the evening we made the acquaintance of Hal. Hal is a sports writer from Florida. When I think of sports writers I instantly think of Jack Klugman’s version in ‘The Odd Couple’; beer swilling, cigar chomping, gambling loudmouth. So it was the opposite to the quietly spoken, gentle man that was sitting drinking tea next to us. He was in town to cover the Miami Dolphins vs Oakland Raiders NFL in London. We had a nice chat, swapped stories and compared notes and bade him adieu. I always am heartened to meet modest people, when I can be brash, blousy and utterly brazen. They remind me to calm down and be quiet, that decibels are not necessary to convey thoughts or get a point across. There is no point scoring.
Bart, the manager, your turn. It was delightful to meet you and your enthusiasm and dedication to your job was obvious and contagious. We discussed again the strategies employed by Wright Brothers and again it was so refreshing to see such zest in the delivery of first class food and service.
Wright Brothers is quite high end and not a cheap option but always is spot on with quality produce served with gusto and flair.
After we paid our bill we wandered through the now closed market. It has such a wonderful vibe to the area and we spotted several day time stalls that offer cheaper oysters and I will attach a photo of the largest oyster we have ever seen. We had to throw a penny through the wire barrier for comparison but it was almost unbelievably big so I need to find out if it is real or not. It would be meal on its own for a family of four.