Oyster Masterclass at Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill

Recently I was lucky enough to be invited along to an Oyster Masterclass at Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill, Piccadilly, London.  The Oyster Masterclass gives you the opportunity to learn all about oysters, shuck them, pair them with wines, and of course eat plenty of them in a relaxed and informal environment.

The Oyster Masterclass is held once a month at Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill and costs £65 per person.  They last for about an hour and a half and include free flowing champagne and wine and as many oysters as you can eat!  The nice thing about them is the maximum class size is 14 as you all sit around the long bar.  Cosy and informal and a great way to get to know other people and have fun in a relaxed environment.Oyster Masterclass at Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, Piccadilly, London by Emma Eats & Explores

We arrived to a warm welcome and were shown to the long bar.  Starting with a glass of champagne definitely got us in the mood for a fun couple of hours ahead.  We were introduced to our hosts for the afternoon Fred & Helio – Oyster Shucking Aficionados and definitely the experts on all things oyster related.  With over 25 years of experience between them, they know what they’re talking about!Oyster Masterclass at Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, Piccadilly, London by Emma Eats & ExploresThe class began with an introduction about the types of oysters served at Bentley’s.  Richard Corrigan, the owner, is a staunch supporter of all things British and loves local produce so the only Oysters sold in his restaurant come from around the British Isles.  Today we were getting to taste one type of Native Oyster and two different types of Rock Oysters.  This basically means wild oysters and farmed or cultivated ones.

The Native Oysters that we got to taste were from West Mersea in Essex and they were up first.  I learned that Native Oysters can only be eaten for 6 months of the year.  It’s illegal to catch them during summer as this is the time when they reproduce so you only get wild oysters in the colder months.

Oyster Masterclass at Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, Piccadilly, London by Emma Eats & Explores
You can see the difference between the two types of oysters here – Native Oysters are the darker flatter ones and the more domed, lighter ones covered in barnacles are the Rock Oysters.

Oyster Shucking

Fred and Helio expertly shucked some of the oysters and gave them to us to taste.  They described the best way to eat them – lemon juice and a tiny bit of black pepper.  I can honestly say I’ve never had a better oyster.  That Native Oyster was so fresh and firm and meaty, and they were right, lemon and black pepper is definitely the way forward.  If you prefer there is shallot vinegar and even tabasco if you want it (although don’t let Helio see you do that!)

Then it was over to us and our turn to have a go at shucking them!  We had a special block to hold the oysters.  Much easier than the way they were doing it in their hands!  We still had to stand up to get some force behind opening them!  They’re slippery little suckers but  you know what – the expert tuition worked.  Not quite as neat as theirs but I did it without too much trouble.  I even impressed myself.

I then had a go with a couple more but it just seemed easier (lazier) to sit back and chat with the other guests while Fred and Helio opened them for us!  With the champagne free-flowing this was no hard task!

Oyster Masterclass at Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, Piccadilly, London by Emma Eats & Explores

After trying the Native Oysters it was time to try The Rock Oysters.  Two different types that came from Dorset and Carlingford in Ireland.  I’m no oyster expert, but even I could tell the difference.  They were softer, less firm and meaty and slightly more watery in flavour.  During the class you get given an ‘Oyster Passport’ so you can record which ones you loved and which not so much!

Helio also opened a bottle of the House Wine – the Picpoul de Pinet for us to try as he wanted to show that oysters pair just as well with white wine as they do with the classic champagne.  He was right, the crisp acidity of the Picpoul really did match perfectly with the salty, almost metallic taste of the oysters.

Cooked Oysters

Then, just when we thought we couldn’t eat any more oysters, (I must have eaten between 8 and 10!)  out came a tasting plate of cooked oysters.  Done in so many different ways, they were baked, fried, marinated and served with spinach, hollandaise, garlic, chorizo etc

Completely different to the fresh oysters, each was delicious in it’s on right, but it only really tasted of the sauce or the way it had been cooked.  It had lost the fresh, saltiness that comes with the raw ones.  I have to say though, I absolutely loved the baked oyster with spinach and hollandaise sauce and the deep-fried oyster with chorizo and caramelised shallots!

All too soon the class was over but it really was a wonderful way to spend a few hours.  I loved it so much that I even booked my boyfriend and I in for a tasting plate of oysters for a Valentine’s Day treat.  Very informative and educational and above all fun.  This Oyster Masterclass at Bentley’s would make a great date idea, or a gift for a foodie friend!  Feeling a little bit tipsy I made my way home.  Now I’m looking forward to returning for more of the same on Valentine’s night!

The Oyster Masterclass  at Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill is held once a month  and costs £65 per person.  They last for about an hour and a half and include champagne on arrival, oyster master class and tasting with sommelier matched wines. You will also get to take home a goody bag with apron, recipe cards and oyster knife.  For more information or to book a class, visit this link

Pin it for later Oyster Masterclass at Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, Piccadilly, London by Emma Eats & Explores

110 Comments Add yours

  1. MayaNyssa says:

    I love cooking classes. It’s interesting that this one was at a restaurant, I haven’t seen that before (or at least not advertised). How did you find out about it?

  2. What a fun experience. I need to find out if there is something like this near me. Great review Emma. ?

  3. I am sure you had so much fun. I don’t really like oysters – I prefer fish. Thanks for sharing.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      They have plenty of other seafood – and meat too if oysters aren’t your thing! 🙂

  4. Michelle says:

    Wow seems amazing! Haven’t had oysters in soooo long!

  5. Annie says:

    Great idea for a gift.

  6. Hannah says:

    This looks amazing! I am hoping to be in London within the next year, so I will keep this in mind!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      You really should, it’s such a fun few hours!

  7. Lydia says:

    My eldest loves cooking and I can imagine that when she’s old enough she will be going on quite a few courses like this.

  8. natalielovesbeauty says:

    I’ve been wanting to take a cooking class for ages! One of my fave restaurants offers one, I should really look into it.

  9. lba14525 says:

    What a treat that must have been! I wonder if there are any restaurants near me in Florida that do something similar.

  10. Bev Yu says:

    I’d love to go here someday! I can feel the travel bug in me itching to get on a plane right now 😀

  11. momknowsbest15 says:

    I tried oysters for the first time this year. They are quite tasty, what a fun class/

  12. Amber says:

    This would be a fun class! I wish I liked oysters though. I’ve just never found a taste for them but my husband likes them!

  13. Jen Smith says:

    Oh my gosh. What a dream! I love them with Tabasco so I’d def have to hide to eat them! lol.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      haha – yeah, they don’t mind really, they know everyone has different tastes, they were just pretending to be shocked!

  14. Sarah Bailey says:

    I would love to attend a cooking class where I can be able to learn a lot of dishes especially from the super tasty oyster. I will check my schedule next month and see if I can make it.

  15. It’s not fair! You have all the fun! LOL I’d love to do something like this. I liked the special holder you had for the oysters. I’d be worried about somehow accidentally cutting myself.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      It was really good fun – we had such a nice time – already planning on taking another friend in a few months!

  16. I can’t imagine how much fun it would be to be in London for vacation or even to live there. If that opportunity ever comes up, I’m heading to Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill.

  17. Elizabeth O. says:

    They definitely know their oysters! Both the fresh and the cooked looks amazing! It’s a place that’s worth going to.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      definitely – the freshest I’ve ever eaten!

  18. Catvills says:

    woah looks very interesting! i like it!

  19. Jodie says:

    Would you believe I’ve never tried oysters? Great post though! I think it must be amazing. I really want to learn more about cooking and making more food. Masterclasses like this sound fun! Bring me the wine…x

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      lol I agree – there was plenty of wine on offer (and champagne) and I definitely made the most of it!

  20. Marcie W. says:

    As a foodie, this is definitely my type of experience, especially considering the bottomless champagne. I would certainly enjoy my fair share of oysters as well.

  21. Ah what a fun event! Although I’m not sure I like oysters…

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      try them cooked first if the raw ones scare you!

  22. I’m not keen on oysters but my husband doesn’t mind them I think a master class like this is a good idea though.

  23. Sophie Whiffen says:

    Sounds like a brilliant experience! Although I don’t eat shellfish now I used to work in an oyster bar many moons ago (and quite liked eating the odd one!)

  24. ChelseaMamma says:

    Looks like a fabulous event, I have never tried Oysters but always wondered what they taste like

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Apparently like ‘kissing the sea’ if you want to be poetic haha! I think they taste fresh and salty with a hint of sweetness and a tiny bit metallic

  25. Ana De-Jesus says:

    Wow free flowing champagne, I would be there just for the drinks haha! I would love to try a masterclass.

  26. realmofvibes says:

    This looks like such a great place to dine!

  27. Wow, what a cool experience! That is a great value for all the knowledge you gained, not to mention all the great samples you got 🙂

  28. Karlyn Cruz says:

    wow. looks like a fun class! i wish i can attend some events like this!

  29. Dahlia says:

    This looks like such a cool class. I’ve never had oysters before but a class like this would be a fun place to try them for the first time!

  30. I know for a fact if I tried to shuck oysters – I would rip open my hands in 5 seconds!!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Haha practice makes perfect!!

  31. Talya says:

    Ooooh I love oysters but they do take a bit of knowledge to be enjoyed best so this masterclass looks like the perfect place to start!

  32. I worked at an oyster bar while supplementing my income after college. I loved shucking oysters, it took awhile for me to get the hang of it but once I did there was no stoping me. This sounds like an excellent class Emma, all you can eat oysters sounds too good to be true. Those cooked oysters look divine. I had to pin this 🙂

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      It’s not too hard once you know how!

  33. Kat says:

    Oh no, oysters are not something I would order:D However those on the picture look tempting, maybe I would try:P

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      try the cooked ones first if the raw ones scare you!

  34. This sounds like a really enjoyable evening. I have never had oysters before as I am not a seafood fan but being able to try different kinds sounds really good x

  35. Mary Anne says:

    well, I am not a huge fan of oysters but in this place let me tell you, I will definetely eat them!

  36. Azlin Bloor says:

    What a fantastic time you had! Anything to do with oysters has got to be a lot of fun! We hold and Oysters and Champagne Masterclass in our school once a months that’s extremeky popular!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      which school is that?

  37. What a fun experience! My hubby LOVES oysters so he would’ve had a blast doing this!

  38. I’m not really a sea food person but I’m sure the class was amazing!!

  39. bethany1980 says:

    This looks so good. I’m not a big Oyster fan but my husband loves them.

  40. sparkofsouthernmoms says:

    The food looks amazing! I would love to visit and try it. I have never eaten oysters but I am willing to try something new!

  41. Miranda says:

    Oyster masterclass! Yummmm-eee! I really want to try oyestera they look amazing! Was this your first ever time trying them.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Not my first time, but the first time that I really loved them! Before the class I could just take them or leave them!

  42. countryheartdeb says:

    Ive never tried an oyster but would love to go to a class like this!

  43. Jhumki Nag says:

    I love Oysters and there a so many awesome preparations served here. Loved it!!

  44. Andrea Broom says:

    Oysters are so good, I really like them with a little lemon juice and some raw shallots. The food looks amazing all of it.

  45. Anne Yedlin says:

    I have never taken a cooking class before but it looks and sounds like a lot of fun! I will have to research and see if they have something like this in my area.

  46. wildandfreeoutdoors says:

    My mouth is watering by looking at these photos!!! I love oysters and this sounds like an awesome class!!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      It was really good fun – I’d highly recommend it!

  47. itsahero says:

    This looks like such an awesome experience! I’ve only experienced shucking oysters once. It was horrible lol.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      really? why? 🙂

  48. Kerry Norris says:

    Hubby and I would love this. We’re huge fans of oysters and also love trying different cooked ones

  49. Absolutely looks a fun class and an awesome experience, I want to attend in a class like this

  50. wha2wear says:

    I’ve never been in a cooking class. I need to try it, it looks fun and it’s a great way to get out of my comfort zone hahah x

  51. What a beautiful place. I have never tried oyster’s before. Not sure if I could swallow them or not 🙂

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      one bite and gulp them down! 🙂

  52. Looks a fun event and I want to attend in a event like this, I love Oyster so much

  53. Jen says:

    Looks Yummy. Sorry but I’m not a fan, This is a good read though.

  54. Leiha says:

    I love oysters, this sounds like so much fun! I only use fresh lemon juice on my oysters, will definitely have to try it with a little pepper also. Thanks for the tip!

  55. I think this would be a great experience for a foodie. I’ve never had oysters before, but I have a friend who really likes them.

  56. Cleaning an oyster can be very tricky and learning this task from the very best is quite interesting. Although i am a vegan I would still love to learn this art of cleaning and cooking oysters for special occasions.

  57. hann182014 says:

    This looks like a great event and really interesting too x

  58. Lisa prince says:

    ive still not tried oysters, my gag replext im sure wont be able to manage it but i made my husband try some on holiday and he loved them x

  59. What a great, fun experience. Your photographs look amazing 🙂

  60. Danay says:

    This looks and sounds amazing. I love love love oysters! I never even considered taking a class, especially one with Champagne. Ah-mazing.

  61. Sarah Bailey says:

    That is such an interesting idea for a masterclass. I know there are people who are just devoted to oysters who would love to learn so much about the different types of oysters and how to shuck and prepare them. It sounds like you really enjoyed yourself and the staff at Bentley’s did a fantastic job.

  62. What a great evening. I don’t think I’ve ever tried an oyster, but I would love to go to a place like this and have this experience. I’m sure i would come away with a new love for this food

  63. I’m not a huge oyster fan at all but this is something my parents would love to do x

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      It’s a great gift to give to someone! I’d love to get an experience like this as a present!

  64. I like the interior. The bar looks great.

  65. I have NEVER tried Oysters but have always wanted to. They don’t look very appealing and I don’t like slimey things but so many people rave about them that I still want to pluck up the courage to try them one day!! The bar and grill at Bentley’s looks fabulous, maybe that would be the perfect place to give them a try! xxx

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      I’ve had them quite a few times and honestly these were the best Ive had – you should give them a go!

    2. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      You should give them a go – they look less enticing than they taste – and these were the meatiest and least slimiest Ive ever had – delicious!!!

  66. What a great experience! I’ve not actually tried oysters before but this looks like a fab class for those who love them x

  67. Anosa says:

    Ohhh! I love oysters! Hopefully, I can also try this oyster masterclass.

  68. What an amazing experience and as someone who loves oysters, I love the sound of the masterclass x

  69. Emily Leary says:

    I know a few people who would absolutely love to go here. The ‘passport’ idea is fabulous!

  70. oH I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE 🙂 SUCH ANA AMAZING EVENT

  71. Loudy says:

    It must be a fun class, I’m sure you enjoyed it. I would like to try someday something like this

  72. The oyster masterclass sounds like a great experience i do love to cook and haven’t made anything with oysters before.

  73. Wow this looks great and something completely different. I’m not sure about the raw oysters but I’d be keen to try the cooked ones.

  74. Sounds like an amazing masterclass, I have never tried oysters before

  75. Steph says:

    looks like a lot of fun. I’m not sure I could eat one as it comes but I’d love to try it cooked

  76. This sounds like an amazing masterclass. I must admit I’ve never tried oysters before! :O xo

  77. mrsmapp says:

    This sounds like a very cool class to take my spouse. I have tried different type of oysters and I must say, Oyster’s is not my thing. Thanks for sharing and now, I have another place to surprise my spouse for birthdays and anniversary!

  78. TheLondonMum says:

    I absolutely love oysters! This sounds like the perfect class for me.

  79. I tried an oyster around 20 years ago and have never dared give them a go since. I love the idea of learning about them, and trying the cooked ones too!

  80. What a fantastic experience, I would love to attend an oyster masterclass!

  81. My mummy loves Oysters! Not a big fan on the being baked though. Sounds like a great masterclass!

  82. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten oysters before. They look scary to me, haha. I do like trying new things though and I’d definitely need a class like this to teach me to prepare them because I don’t know the first thing.

  83. helenvella says:

    Love Oysters and Champagne, sounds like you had a great time, next time I am in London I will look it up,.

  84. shauna1979 says:

    Interesting. All though I could never bring myself to actually try an oyster this was def an interesting read 🙂

  85. traveligaya says:

    woa! i love oysters! i love to learn new recipe of oystes!

  86. Charlotte says:

    I have never tried an oyster before as the thought of them scares me. I am not great with strange textures. Looks like a great day though.

  87. Maria Han says:

    I’m not a fan of oyster but it really looks interesting for me and looks like that you had an awesome day

  88. Tanya says:

    This sounds like a lot of fun and what a different way to spend a day. I didn’t realise oysters were cooked so many different ways, well done on your shucking

  89. I recently tried oysters for the first time and still can’t decide if I like them or not… Such an odd flavor!

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