I’m an idiot for not visiting this place sooner

Oyster Club

On Saturday morning, I gave myself a good talking to.

And, were I not irreversibly opposed to violence of all sorts, I may well have given myself a good punch on the nose.

For how had seven months passed before I’d paid my first visit to the Oyster Club?

In my defence, time slips easily through our fingers and there’s a plethora of restaurants in Birmingham fluttering their seductive eye lashes at us.

Even so, my tardiness was inexplicable and unforgivable for this is a seriously good joint.

To recap on its history – it’s owned by Adam Stokes, whose Michelin-starred restaurant Adam’s just down the road is rightly praised and respected.

Oyster Club

Decoratively, there’s a familial similarity before the two joints – both have understated elegance and correctness, though the new restaurant is more relaxed and casual.

Heading the brigade at the OC is Rosanna Moseley, a young cook who impressed on Master Chef – The Professionals.

She presides over a calm and beautifully choreographed open plan kitchen.

So much so that I couldn’t resist taking an artsy photograph showing Rosanna and the kitchen reflected in a painting hanging on the wall opposite.

Oyster Club

Pretty clever, eh?

Anyway, as the name suggested the Oyster Club specialises in seafood.

There are oysters, caviar, snacks, small plates and larger plates.

You could dine from a selection of snacks and small plates or construct a more formal meal from the menu.

Oyster Club

A glass of fizz with 10g of caviar was a lovely way to start the evening – the sturgeon eggs salty and delicately fishy, the blini with them soft as duck-down pillows.

My wife and I chose two starters and shared them.

A smoked haddock scotch egg was a marvellous thing – the coating crumbly and refined of flavour, the egg inside cooked precisely so that its rich yolk spilled out.

Mayonnaise was enlivened by the flavour and colour of parsley and freshness was added to the dish by capers.

Oyster Club

Pork and smoked eel fritters were far more butch, packing a proper punch.

Apple puree alongside was silky with just a touch of acidity.

These were very fine starters indeed – relatively humble ingredients treated simply but with huge skill so that they shone.

The more aristocratic turbot to which I progressed was, likewise, treated with precision and respect.

This huge chunk of fish had been cooked on the bone just long enough so that it flaked while still retaining its texture and flavour.

Oyster Club

It came with soft cockles and a nutty, nice and sharp beurre noisette.

This was matched perfectly by a side order of tender stem broccoli with garlic and toasted hazelnuts.

A side order of chips, neatly served Jenga-style, were absolute beauties.

Opposite, Lynn ate cod with a light, crisp tempura batter with crushed peas and tartare sauce.

Here was the elevation of a chip shop favourite to an exalted level.

Portions were generous, so neither of us was able to progress to desserts.

Which may be something I’ll remedy when I next visit.

Make no mistake: this is a crowd-pleasing place with real class.

Need to know

Lunch deals and Sunday menus are available.

Otherwise expect to pay £16.50 to £34.50 for a main course.

Snacks and starters are cheaper.

Meat dishes are available.

Check the well-priced and interesting wine list.

The Oyster Club

43 Temple Street, Birmingham B2 5DP. 0121 643 6070.


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