A brilliant fish restaurant: The Company Shed on Mersea Island, Essex

My oldest sister now lives on the borders of Suffolk and Essex – or Suffex as we like to call it. And along the coast of this little bit of England, there lies possibly the country’s most brilliant seafood spot: The Company Shed on Mersea Island.  It’s essentially a fishmonger and has been doing a roaring trade for 25 years thanks to its owners Heather and Richard Hayward who have been fattening oysters since the mid-1700s.   Over the years it has evolved in to the low key no frills fish restaurant but thankfully its owners have resisted the urge to prettify it and it remains a very simple weather board shack on the shore surrounded by boats and oyster beds.

Grilled tiger prawns
The blackboard...

It’s a very simple proposition really: they provide the fish, you provide pretty much everything else.   We weren’t taking any chances and came armed with bread (brown rolls and french baguettes), salad, mayonnaise (plain and garlic), white wine, red wine, a corkscrew, napkins (the list goes on).  Seated on mismatched tables, chairs and church pews, lunch consisted of razor clams, oysters, seared scallops, grilled green lip mussels, lobster, grilled tiger prawns all prepared with the minmum fuss and frippery.

You can’t book, it’s a first come, first served system so the trick my friends, is to get down there early to put your name down.   Em got ours down around 11.45am and we then headed off for a walk before coming back to be seated around 2.30pm (by which time there were a whopping 120 names on the board).

Papa B gets to know his lobstery friend

What to have:

  • Six New Zealand green lip mussels grilled with a herb and parmesan crust £3.75 a plate. A PLATE I tell you
  • Tiger prawns grilled with a herb and salt coating, served with garlic mayonnaise: £3.95 for a plate of these bad boys
  • Scallops seared in herb butter with bacon, roasted vine tomatoes and salad: £6.95 a plate
  • Oysters (Gigas) 75p each!!!

And from the takeaway menu you can get your mitts on:
Smoked Cods Roe – £24-00/kg
Whole Crab – £8-00/kg
Dressed Crab – £24-00/kg
Peeled Prawns, from £1-10
Shell-on-prawns – £1-80/pint
Whelks – 80p / £1-50
Rollmops – 65p/each
Crevettes – £20-00/kg
Green lip mussels £6-00/kg
Jellied Eels £2-50/tub
Scallop terrine £2-75/100g
Langoustine – £30-00/kg
Lobsters – £28-00/kg

The shed is open 9am – 5pm on Saturdays and 10am – 5pm on Sundays and it’s cash or cheque only

Outside the shed

The Company Shed
129 Coast Road
West Mersea
Colchester, Essex
+44 (0)1206 382700


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