Rose (fellow LFLD writer) and I, we like a bit of mussel, which is how we ended up at the Mussel Men seafood ‘shack' in Dalston on a Thursday evening.
We also quite like of a bit of lobster and melt-in-your-mouth scallops float our boat too. Fat AND thin chips, we're partial to both of those. And salmon. Salmon is good. Oysters? Er, yeah, well, Rose is REALLY fond of oysters so we've got that covered. However, what we particularly like is when someone (beautifully) throws all of the above onto plates and plonks them in front of us. That's our favourite, we decided.
Mussel Men, founded by Robin Dunlop, took up permanent residency on Kingsland Road three weeks ago. Before that, they roamed nomadically for two years, dropping anchor and “popping up” wherever they fancied. They've certainly stamped a nautical mark on their new space. You feel like you could be in a joint in an old sea town – lots of weathered timber, decking and quirky little additions like piles of sea rope, buoys and marine-related memorabilia all around. You'll find a well-stocked bar and a decent-sized garden to sit in at the back of the restaurant too. On summer weekends they hold seafood BBQs, which sound well worth going along to. They also whip up Sunday Seafood Roasts - a massive array of all different seafood from the British Isles served on a big platter with veg, salad and chips. Sounds like my kind of roast, does that.
The food was super and the portions generous. The scallops were cooked to perfection, the mussels were buttery and the chips crispy. The Hendricks cured salmon was super-fresh and I'll take Rose's word for it that the oysters were some of the best she's had but you'll have to talk to her about those.
I'm not going to pretend we didn't order a whole lobster, 'cos we did. He was one helluva big bad boy too! There was nowt fancy going on, just pure and simple tender steamed meat, dressed with a squeeze of lemon. Bliss! Cue first cracking quote of the night from Miss Rose; “We know our way around a lobster.” Leaving it at that.
For dessert and purely research purposes (obviously) we tried a signature waffle with salted caramel sauce and bacon ice cream and a strictly research-based lemon posset too. I don't eat meat so bacon ice cream wasn't my thing and Rose came out with, wait for it…“it tastes like there's Frazzles in my ice cream.” She likes Frazzles and she likes ice-cream, just not so keen on the two together. The fluffly waffle and caramel sauce were nice though and the lemon posset; that was flippin' impressive. It was smooth as silk, rich and tangy and had crunchy pieces of crystallised lemon rind on the top, which made it for me.
For a great all-round eating/entertainment experience, a sail to see the Mussel Men is essential and ‘ships' regularly dock at Dalston Overground station, just a minute or two away. The waiters are a great crew and apparently, if you ask nicely, they'll even challenge you to an arm wrestle. I gave that one a swerve though. When you're my size you don't want to be challenging people called "Mussel Men" to an arm wrestle. It'll never end well...for me.
Cuisine Type: British Seafood
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £45
584 Kingsland Road, Dalston, E8 4AH. Tel: 02079988041