An undeniably classic London restaurant, Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill has been serving up seafood in Mayfair for over one hundred years. Starting out as a family establishment owned by the Bentley family, the restaurant has endured both periods of roaring success, alongside times of turbulence, during its lengthy Mayfair reign. Now in the safe hands of owner and chef patron Richard Corrigan since 2005, Bentley’s has undergone a period of restoration to its former regality, as a place put firmly on the map to enjoy the freshest oysters, seafood and fish from the British and Irish Isles.
One particular dish, the proper English shellfish cocktail, goes down in legend amongst Mayfair folk, restaurant regulars and celebrities. But as with the story of Bentley’s, it’s not always been plain sailing. In fact, it used to be made from frozen fish, existing on the menu as a mere afterthought. But, with the Corrigan takeover came the dish's reinvention – a legend reborn to showcase the best shellfish the British isles has to offer.
“The recipe is a classic and a particular favourite of mine", says Corrigan. "It’s simple and is best enjoyed with some soda bread and Irish butter. The quantities of seafood you use are up to you: just try to get a good mix of everything and always buy it from the fishmongers, or, if you’re lucky enough to live by the sea, direct from the boat. How much sauce you make is really up to you, too. Keep tasting it, and adjust it until it makes you smile. Simon Hopkinson had a nice idea of mixing a little cottage cheese into a cocktail sauce, it lightens it up a bit and makes it less cloying, but you know that no one has ever come up with anything as good."