OK, first off, can we just give some kudos to the person who named this new dinner at Bistrotheque, as it is seriously inspired *round of applause*. Secondly, we guess we'd better give thanks to head chef Jackson Berg, for coming up with with the actual concept and menu, which is a total blinder.
The deal is every Thursday night up in the Manchichi bar, it's a case of seafood, eat food. You're handed a plastic bib with a hammer and other metal accoutrements for smashing, crushing and picking. Then it's just a matter of choosing your creatures from the deep. The menu will change from week to week but a few staples will always be on there, like the oysters, which we started with. West Mersea oysters (£2.5 each) are - in our humble opinion - some of the best in the world, and are served up here with a little lime, shallot vinaigrette and hot sauce and are the perfect opener to a crustacean odyssey.
Next up, we tried the little sharing plates of tiny, fried brown shrimps with lemon (£5) and the flavour-bomb of sweet Palourde clams, smokey chorizo and rich aioli (£6), which were a total dream when mopped up with some fresh, crusty bread.
For mains, it's got to the be the crab (£17.5). It's served whole with a delicate coconut curry sauce and now it's time to get to work: smack your crab up. We're not quite sure of the etiquette here, but a decent session should have you properly scavenging for the delicious white flesh and apologising to any neighbours for rogue flying bits of shell. Also on the mains menu is a fried buttermilk mackerel (£10.5) - an unusual fish to batter and deep-fry, but made a nice change from the usual cod or plaice. Perhaps it could also be complemented with a pickled side salad or herbed sauce?
As always, there's a great selection of cocktails to match to each dish, or the house Champagne at £9.5 a glass is also the perfect pairing. You'll definitely be thirsty after working for your dinner...
Fruits De Mare Street takes place every Thursday night, call to reserve a place on 020 8983 7900 bistrotheque.com