Having started out as a pop-up, selling their delicious molluscs for £1 a shuck at The Muse Gallery on Portobello Road (which they’ll be restarting on March 2nd for once or twice monthly sessions) oyster-lovers Melissa Hayles and Theresa Douthwright have now branched out to featured events. Tasting evenings that pair these ocean gems with spirits are already in full swing – “Oysters meet Sake” was a runaway success, and “Oysters meet Whiskey” (taking place tomorrow, Thursday 21st) will no doubt follow in its footsteps. You can find out more about bookings and info here.
As well as all this, The Mothershuckers will be popping up at another Saturday lunch venue! To keep up with all their events, simply keep a weather eye on Grub Club.
Melissa and Teresa kindly took a break from shucking and allowed us to pick their brains about everything oyster – including why British is best and what makes The Mothershuckers so special…
Having only opened in June, you’re already attracting quite a bit of attention amongst London foodies. Why did you choose to focus solely on oysters?
Melissa: It’s pretty simple, we both love them!
Theresa: I’ve always really liked the idea of having a foodie venture that is extremely simple, and that’s what we aim for with The Mothershuckers. I recently finished a masters in Aquatic Ecology and before moving to London, I lived and worked in a small fishing community doing coastal marine research and conservation. Supporting fisheries that don’t royally mess with coastal ecosystems is important to me and oysters are a great choice on this front (they can actually improve water quality!)
Specialist pop-up food stalls have become a big thing in London – who do you think we should look out for when it comes to picking up great street food in the city?
The best street food in London, in fact anywhere, really focuses on using the best, freshest ingredients prepared by people who are passionate about what they’re doing. It’s as simple as that. We love Mike and Ollie, they can be found at Brockley Market serving amazing food and lots of locally sourced ingredients.
What do you think makes The Mothershuckers oyster experience so popular?
Melissa: We keep it simple and do it well.
Theresa: We serve amazing oysters and we aren’t a stuffy dining destination. We like to think what we do, and the way we do it, makes eating oysters and delicious booze accessible and fun.
Can you remember your first oyster? Do you have any favourite varieties that you’d like to introduce to Mothershucker events and tastings?
Melissa: I had my first one when I was about 15 so a late starter! I’ve made up for it since then…
Theresa: Yep. I used to live in a tiny fishing town on the west coast of Vancouver Island, oysters were big part of life there. I can thank my neighbors Kenny and Rose for my first oyster experience. They had an oyster lease and used to tie bags of the freshest hand picked oysters off our dock. They were pretty amazing!
We know you guys are big on sourcing your oysters locally – why is it so important to you to buy British and where do you think boasts the most lip-smacking varieties?
Melissa: Oysters are an amazingly sustainable food and we of course want to buy British! There’s over 30 different oyster fisheries in the UK so there is plenty to choose from. They all differ and take on the flavours of their surroundings. Which ones you like best is all down to personal preference!
Theresa: Buying British oysters is a no-brainer. It means we get super fresh stock all the time and it’s an opportunity to support British oyster growers and a very environmentally sustainable fishery.
You’ve recently held some fantastic events featuring innovative spirit and oyster combos. Which spirit do you think pairs up best?
Melissa: Probably vodka, a killer Bloody Mary and a plate of oysters is my perfect way to start a weekend.
Theresa: Vodka is a really versatile choice, we infuse ours with chilies and horseradish for our signature Bloody Marys. Whisky and oysters fit surprisingly well together too, there’s something to the sweet, salty, smoky mix that just works.
Do The Mothershuckers have any other exciting oyster-inspired events or appearances in the pipeline?
Melissa: We’ll be back with our weekend pop up in Portobello on the 2nd March and we’re looking into an oyster and stout combo for St Patrick’s Day!
Theresa: We love the idea of trying new combinations and pushing the limits on traditional pairings. We’ve got a few events up our sleeves doing just that this year. We’re also looking forward to popping up in some new venues and collaborating with friends on more delicious and fun events. Stay tuned!
When you’re not working away at Mothershuckers, where do you go to sample great seafood in London?