It is a treat to go to the Company Shed, both for the value for money seafood and for the enjoyable journey. It is situated on Mersea Island, which is not far from London but it has a completely different pace. It is calm and relaxing. It is a perfect place for weekend lunch!
It is run by Heather Haward, whose husband and son are the producers of the some of the finest farmed flat oysters in Britain. The Haward family deals directly with local fishermen who land their catches daily. It started off as a fishmonger but its eaterie is as popular.
For £11.95, we got a seafood platter which could cost easily double in other restaruants. I think I had better smoked salmon and mackeral elsewhere. The shrimps, crevettes, cockles and crab were lovely though.
My favourite dish was green- lipped mussels with parmesan and herb crust. The mussels were big, meaty and succulent. The crust was fragrant and tasty. It act as a little ‘lid’ which held the juice in well. £3.95 for 6, it was a steal!
Most people go there for the oysters- Native or Pacific ones. During the months that have a ‘r’ in them, ie. from September to April, Native oysters are in season (£18.95 per dozen). Alternatively, for £9 a dozen, customers could have the Pacific oysters, which are available all the year round. They both have loyal supporters. We did a tast test between the Native and Pacific oysters to see which one we like here.
Other great dishes included fresh scallops with bacon. The scallops were BIG and fresh – amazing!
If you go there for lunch during the weekend, I suggest you arriving by noon as it gets busy after that. The wait was only 3 mins for us when we went during winter but it could be up to an hour during nice warm summer. We went for a stroll by the sea and watched
people feeding the sea gulls. Before we knew it, the table was ready!
2. Bring your own bread
They specialise in seafood, not baking so they do not mind you bringing your own bread!
3. Bring your own drink
This ‘tradition’ started as they did not use to serve wine nor drinks at all. Even though they now have a limited selection on offer, customers are still welcome to bring their own drinks. No corkage charged!
4. Check the tide
There is only one road leading to Mersea, which is an island. At high tide, the road gets flooded. Unless you have a 4×4, you might have to wait.
Lunch for two: £37, excl. service charge and drinks
129 Coast Road, West Mersea, Colchester, Essex, CO5 8PA
Telephone: 01206 382700
9am – 5pm Tue – Sat, 10am – 5pm Sun. Closed Mondays
Last order at 4pm.