A few years ago, I rented a flat in Dalston. It was the height of cool, certainly, but also the grimiest.
Fast forward three years, and I hear news of a new restaurant that’s opened, with an Oyster Happy Hour and a beaut interior: enter The Richmond. “Great! Sign me up, I’ll take my dad the oyster connoisseur,” I thought.
Googling my route on the day, to my utmost shock and surprise, I found that the nearest station was Dalston Junction. How?! There was uproar in Brixton when a champagne and cheese bar opened a year or so back; surely oysters in Dalston is just as mind blowing!?
A ten minute walk from Dalston Junction, The Richmond doesn’t cut a particularly impressive figure from the street. Surrounded by black hoarding, on a rather uninteresting residential street, it was clearly a dodgy pub in its former life.
But it’s amazing what a lick of paint can do to rejuvenate a place – on this sunny evening, it was stunning. Huge pendant light shades, a geometrically painted floor, leather banquettes in smoky blue, and already buzzing with diners at 7:30pm.
Dad completed an oyster order card with the provided pencil (all oysters are British, from the likes of Essex, Wales and Northumberland) while I sipped a refreshing Brit Spritz. My father makes a point of ordering oysters at every possible opportunity, and he declared these ones to be pretty good. Clean, well prepared and saltier than the American oysters he’s used to. The Lindisfarne oysters got bonus points purely for being farmed in his hometown!
After oysters, we filled the table with a selection of tapas-style small plates and a fish stew (complete with mussels, nduja and a whole octopus tentacle!). Tuna tartare with harissa and aubergine was a highlight, along with a buttery Queens scallop and an English muffin stuffed with crab.
Dessert was a cheeseboard for dad, and apple beignets for me – warm from the oven and rolled in cinnamon sugar, they were stuffed with tart apple compote, with sweet stewed apples and ice cream on the side – washed down with an Old Fashioned!
The Richmond is not the easiest to get to, but is it worth the trek? Most definitely. It’s one of those versatile places that would do just as well for a date or a family dinner, and we could always do with more of those types in London.
Photos by myself and Ed Reeve.
316 Queensbridge Road, Hackney, London, E8 3NH