If you like seafood, then I know just the place for you to visit. The Company Shed on Mersea Island is an absolute fish lover's haven. I've been wanting to go there for ages, so last week I took a friend and we hopped on the train from London Liverpool Street to Colchester, then took a cab on to Mersea Island. It's amazing how quickly you can get from the hustle and bustle of London to the peace and tranquility of the seaside in less than two hours.
The Company Shed is a family run business and is literally a large shed amongst the boat yards right by the sea. No frills, airs or graces here - just a very simple restaurant with plastic table cloths and mismatched chairs, which serves the most fantastic, fresh seafood. The staff are very friendly and efficient (or should that be effishent) and we were really lucky to get a table immediately, because the reputation of The Company Shed is so good, that even on a random Tuesday, it was stuffed to the gills (sorry). As you can't book, it really is advisable to get there as early as possible. But if it is full, you can put your name on the list, go for a stroll and take in some sea air whilst you wait.
As The Company Shed is just a fish restaurant and doesn't have an alcohol licence, you are required to take your own bread and wine with you, so I guess that means you provide the loaves and they'll provide the fishes! Once you've had a good look at the appetising menu and all the fresh fish on display, you just 'plaice' your order and before you know it, you're tucking into the most almighty fish feast.
My friend and I indulged in fantastic green-lipped mussels, grilled king prawns, juicy seared scallops on a bacon and tomato salad, fresh mackerel pate, smoked salmon and cooked oysters. We were absolutely stuffed. And the most amazing thing was the bill came to a ridiculous £15 each. What a bargain!
Even by the time we left, there were more people arriving and the tables kept on turning. It's important to check the tide, because when it's high tide, Mersea Island becomes a proper island which can't be accessed by car, (although I can think of worse islands to be 'shipwrecked' on). To work off our amazing lunch, we went for a lovely walk along the sea, then found a nice little pub in the sunshine to enjoy another glass of wine before our friendly taxi driver came to collect us and return us to Colchester station and back to good old London town.
So, if fish is your thing, I can't recommend The Company Shed highly enough. It really is the lobster's bollocks!
The Company Shed
129 Coast Road
West Mersea Island
Essex CO5 8PA
01206 382 700
I have bad memories of sitting in the rain on Mersea Island on a primary school trip... Seems it could be time to banish them and make a return visit! Have heard great things about the cookery school on the island too.
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