Dalston is an interesting old place. Retaining the charm of a suburban high street, the Kingsland shopping mall standing proud, amongst the pound shops and cash converters, one has to know where to look for the hidden pearls. I haven’t seen Peacocks for what feels like a decade – yet there it was.
Just further down Kingsland Road, we arrived at Mussel Men – the home to sailors, moustaches and fresh seafood.
The Mussel Men is the brainchild of Robin Dunlop, and what once started as a pop-up on wheels, is now a permanent fixture for local fruits de mer lovers.
We arrived for 7pm, with the inside area empty, however the back garden was filled with crowds enjoying the balmy evening. Large bowls of mussels were constantly being delivered by the friendly staff.
We started with bread served with churned and smoked butter garnished with poppy seeds.
Despite my year-long craving for a lobster roll from Burger & Lobster, which I consciously deprived myself of due to the no bookings system and the no end queues, I was pleased to see a Lobster Roll on Mussel Men’s menu. The light brioche bun was generously filled with lobster, smothered in a homemade mayonnaise consisting of tarragon, turmeric and basil, and garnished with crispy shallots, and a serving of Green Salad. I was pleased I waited.
My fellow sailor girl enjoyed a very large serving of the MM Classic Marinière Mussels, prepared in a clear white wine broth and served with a very moreish portion of fries.
We shared a serving of Tender-stem Broccoli with a dollop of Truffle Mayo – delicious! I have recently developed a slight addiction to truffles, and judging by my recent repeat order of Porcini di Bosco pizza from my local pizzeria, one would say a rather unhealthy one.
There is still time to enjoy the new summer menu. It includes delights such as Hand Dived Scallop, Haggis Crumble, Cauliflower, Prunes & Radish; Skrei Cod, Mash, Burnt Leek & Clam Sauce and Cumbrae Oysters from Scotland.
All the fish is sourced from around the British Isles, except for the cod, which comes from the Norwegian waters.
If you are looking for a party, Mussel Men has it covered. The Captain Quarters is a dedicated party space to accommodate up to twenty fun loving sea monsters. The venue can also be hired exclusively, with the choice of half or full board, drifting Oyster Boys and tasty seafood barbeque.
Mussel Men is charming and unpretentious, with good quality seafood. There are plenty more fish in the sea, but Mussel Men is a pretty good catch.
- For more information and bookings visit http://www.musselmen.com/ Mussel Men, 584 Kingsland Road, Dalston, E8 4AH; Nearest tube Dalston Kingsland and Dalston Junction