Amidst the chaos of Kingsland Road – the Dalston end of course – lays a nautical restaurant swimming with seafood delights. Mussel Men opened its doors in 2014 to all matey’s with a passion for fish… and an impressive back yard. On a rare sunny weekend, feeling a little low given recent weather woes we took the opportunity to visit the sun trap whilst we had the chance. And what rhymes with sun? Prosecco! As if by magic a bottle appeared at our table.
The contrast between the bustle of the main road and the wooden deck clad space out the back is certainly what lured us in after a quick Insta-browse.The space hosts five or six tables and is decorated with wooden barrels and thick nautical rope. It’s surprisingly tranquil given its location, although some days are more lively than others; this summer it plays host to a multitude of events including barbecues, sports days and a ‘Lobster off’!
Owner Robin Dunlop established Mussel Men back in the early pop-up days serving the finest seafood out of a truck before going permanent at the Dalston digs. Being from Edinburgh, Robin has ensured the menu has strong Scottish heritage by including Shetland mussels and Cumbrae oysters amongst other Scotch delectables.
Settling in with our fizz, we ordered a plate of Jersey Oysters. To chew or swallow whole? As debate ensued we tested both methods. Preferring to chew, each bite lead to an eruption of saltiness, tamed by an ever faithful squeeze of lemon.
Now it’d be wrong to visit a restaurant named Mussel Men and not check out the moules-frites right? Served with skinny or sweet potato fries, a choice of four Moules bowls are on offer; The MM Classic Mariniere (a clear white wine broth and our favourite), Mediterranean Bisque, Chevril Beurre Blanc (a creamy white wine broth) or Saffron & Turmeric. Opting for The Classic, the translucent broth complimented the sunshine and chunks of celery and sprinklings of coriander gave the bowl a fresh, zingy sensation. A side of tender stem broccoli with garlic and chilli oil were a welcome addition to the meal.
As the Great British weather poured down on us, we moved inside. Similar to outside, interiors are themed around the ocean with wooden benches and exposed brickwork creating a relaxed atmosphere. Ending the lunch in a good way, we propped ourselves up at a window seat, supping an espresso martini and waited for the down pour to pass.
Mussel Men is the perfect location for a summer time meal with friends or family. The restaurant also offers a private dining area to fit twenty people with ‘Oyster boys’ on hand and the garden can be hired out for parties too.
584 Kingsland Rd