Pearls of wisdom: Oyster masterclass at Wiltons Restaurant in Mayfair
Wiltons in Mayfair has been serving the freshest British seafood and game meat to London’s top clientele for over two centuries. Considered the capital’s second oldest restaurant, Wiltons is an establishment that is well-known not only for its high quality ingredients but also its impeccable ambience and service.
With spring water that is bottled at Blenheim Palace, a selection of meats that are carved tableside, and a beautiful Dover sole featuring on the menu, it’s of no surprise that the restaurant has a strong following of loyal customers (past diners have even included Winston Churchill and Princess Diana).
Ever since its early days, Wiltons has been synonymous with fine oysters. What started off as an oyster barrow on Haymarket received its first of six royal warrants in 1836 for supplying oysters to the royal household. We also talked to Wiltons about the question on everyone’s lips when it comes to dealing with oysters: what about the pearls?
We were told that a Wiltons team member named Sam worked at the restaurant for over 34 years and opened over 1,000 oysters a day, yet never found a single pearl. However, new member Tommaso discovered his first pearl after only two years.
The pearls are in fact the result of grains of sand entering the oyster, which it then covers in nacre, or mother of pearl. Oysters that are meant to be eaten (ostreidae) are different from pearl oysters (pinctada), so unfortunately, any pearl found in a food oyster would not have any value.
Unbeknownst to many, oysters are both male and female. Born male, they transform into females once they reproduce. Knowing about their reproductive cycles, the months that produce the most optimal water temperature, and the unique traits of different types of oysters are integral in extracting the best flavour from each mollusc.
As an example, rock oysters can be eaten throughout the year, whilst it is best to eat native oysters when the sea is colder. It is also important to ensure that you only consume oysters from reputable establishments that thoroughly clean them, certify their place of origin, and serve them within no more than 48 hours of being taken from the sea.
With their esteemed reputation and long experience of working with some of the world’s best oysters, the team at Wiltons have opened their doors to offer guests a 90-minute Oyster Masterclass experience. Whether you’re an oyster afficionado or are merely curious about this delicious delicacy, Wiltons welcomes you to join them in discovering the health benefits of eating oysters and demystifying the art of oyster shucking.
The Oyster Masterclass takes place at 6pm on the first Monday of every month and includes a glass of Champagne, two glasses of white, and a dozen fresh oysters.
Contact email@example.com for more information and to reserve your place.
Address: 55 Jermyn St, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6LX
Phone: 020 7629 9955