Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hay's Galleria Oyster and Seafood Festival


What’s the soiree all about?
September marks the start of the native oyster season in the British Isles. It’s as good a reason as any for a celebration. The Hay’s Galleria Oyster and Seafood Festival, now in its seventeenth year, offers the perfect opportunity to feast on these sexy mollusks and their finned friends.

Why go?
Not that you need a reminder but oysters are the food of love. Last year, visitors polished off 13,000 oysters from one stall alone. Also on the menus of the festival’s 25 stalls is a range of fish and shellfish. Fresh langoustines, lobsters and crabs will be cooked while you wait or you can take some home to cook yourself. Look out for the paella, which is always a huge hit.

What about refreshments?
There’ll be plenty to wash down the oysters. Try champagne or Guinness. Alternatively, grab a glass of wine or Pimm’s.

Is it just about the seafood?
Yes, but once you’ve had your fill, you can learn more about what you’ve just consumed. Experts from the National Federation of Fishmongers will be on hand to answer all your questions. The Federation’s stall will also feature videos and quirky competitions such as last year’s fish filleting challenge.

If you’d rather not get your hands dirty, check out the cooking demos. Miles Kirby, the head chef at The Providores, the Marylebone restaurant that’s a brunch favorite of many a London-based ASW member, will share his cooking techniques with visitors. There’ll also be a steel band, street performers and face painting to keep the tykes happy.

Who goes?
Everyone from local city workers to tourists. Expect a good turn-out of ASW foodies.

What to wear?
It’s a casual affair but it’s crucial to come with an empty stomach.

The details
The festival runs from September 7-9 at the Hay’s Galleria, which is located at London Bridge, Tooley Street, London, SE1. Stalls are busiest on Saturday and Sunday so if you’d rather graze at a leisurely pace, head over on Friday. Admission is free. For more information and updates, please see:

Want more?
Still craving more? Then head across the Irish Sea to the Galway International Oyster Festival, which takes place September 27-30. See for details.

— Staff

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