Located at 8/9 Lamb Street, Old Spitalfields Market, London, Wright Brothers Spitalfields is the latest site from the seafood specialists Wright Brothers, who currently supply oysters to more than 150 top chefs and restaurants throughout London.
The new restaurant is the fourth venue from Wright Brothers, joining two sites in London – Oyster & Porter House in Borough Market and Soho Oyster House – and The Ferryboat Inn in Cornwall.
Wright Brothers Spitalfields is the most ambitious restaurant to date at Old Spitalfields Market; opening its doors for the first time on 6th December 2013. The restaurant offers guests a bold and innovative ‘sea-to-plate’ dining experience, with more varieties and volumes of seafood and crustacea than seen before in London.
Wright Brothers was established by brothers-in-law Ben Wright and Robin Hancock in 2003, since which time it has come to be recognised as one of the country’s finest specialist seafood wholesalers. Wright and Hancock opened their first restaurant, the Oyster and Porter House in Borough Market, in 2005, and haven’t looked back since.
Transforming a site previously occupied by Meson Los Barriles, Wright Brothers Spitalfields has taken over a double-fronted historic unit within the original infrastructure of Old Spitalfields Market. The handsome space, the first commercial restaurant space designed by maverick architectural practice Undercover Architecture, is accessible from both inside the market and the street, and caters for up to 72 inside and a further 26 on the market terrace. Coriander Buildings Ltd was the main contractor on the project.
Wright Brothers Spitalfields marks the first time that Undercover Architecture has worked with the seafood specialist. Undercover Architecture’s views of how to present the interior space worked perfectly with Wright Brothers’ vision of the new restaurant, as Luke Chandresinghe of Undercover Architecture explained:
“We made a competitive bid early on and Wright Brothers liked our ideas; they really liked the concept of the sea-to-plate experience, which is what they were aiming to create with the restaurant. We were asked to work on some sketches and collages, which were very nautical, keeping the palette quite simple, and this was what they were looking for.”
A number of different seating areas within the restaurant allow guests to choose between the cosy intimacy of banquette seating and the energy and buzz of a seat at a stunning 20-metre-long Carrara marble bar.
“The ground floor includes this large marble bar, where staff prepare food, allowing guests to really feel as if they are part of the experience. The theatre of the kitchen is being brought to the table.”
Diners are offered the chance to choose their own live crab, lobster or oysters from vast seawater tanks – containing 1400 live shellfish (with a further 9000 in holding tanks visible in the basement) –which takes centre stage in the restaurant. The restaurant serves the freshest day boat fish and shellfish possible, all sustainably sourced with the majority from Cornish fishermen.
“The restaurant is quite relaxed as we didn’t want it to be too refined. That said, we designed a beautiful lighting scheme, there’s a daily fish board and an ice machine, providing quite a lot of action. Wright Brothers Spitalfields doesn’t just provide a place where people can come and sit; there are many working, functional areas too.”
The restaurant is housed on one level, with the kitchens and toilets situated below. A large tank is also situated below the restaurant, adding another interesting element to the experience.
SLF UK was responsible for the manufacture of the Mod. SLF SH6 tank, which is on display at Wright Brothers Spitalfields. The Mod. SLF SH6 was designed and customised for Wright Brothers, in order to demonstrate the freshness and quality of their products.
The tank is made from shatter-proof double glazed crystal, automatic skimmer realised in PVC and sliding covers placed on the upper edge of the system, which is hydraulically connected to the unit below.
The Mod. SLF SH6 has many interesting features, including a calcareous seaweed filtering system, ‘sandwich’ grids for the support of the filtering materials and a refrigeration unit. Additional features include an IP 67 tight lighting system and an ozone sterilisation system.
The tank was custom made and is the only system approved in the UK as per commercial purposes. It takes approximately three hours to fill the tank with artificial seawater.
“Guests visiting the washrooms below the restaurant can see the tank. They can see staff in waders bringing in live crustaceans and oysters, which are then weighed before being sent out to other restaurants in London. A great deal can be held at this site, making the seafood as fresh as possible.”
Wright Brothers Spitalfields serve a menu of fish and shellfish only, simply divided into hot and cold sections, featuring the classics: fruits de mer, bouillabaisse and clam chowder alongside dishes such as salmon pastrami, crab omelette and surf clams, pig cheek & coriander. Uniquely Canadian oysters such as Beau Soleil, Green Gables or Malpeques will be available for the first time ever in Europe at Wright Brothers.
For those with a sweet tooth Wright Brothers Spitalfields has a tempting array of treats, from chocolate & caramel pot and coffee granita, to Florentines, candid grapefruit and custard cream.
Leading the kitchen brigade is David Cook who joins the group from Moro, Bocca di Lupo and 40 Maltby Street. Operations are handled by Richard Seldon who was previously the opening general manager at Soho’s La Bodega Negra.
The site incorporates a bar specialising in gin cocktails – an homage to East London’s gin and oyster pairing tradition – as well as craft ales, ciders and prosecco on tap. In addition, a selection of classic and modern seafood pairing wines is available, including Pez de Rio Macabeo and Finca Valero.
Wright Brothers Spitalfields is open Monday to Saturday 12pm to 11pm and Sunday 12pm to 9pm. Prices range from Oysters £4.10 to £22.50, Shellfish £3 to £22, fruit de mer £15.50 to £125, kitchen £6 to £15, and sides £4 to £6.
Work reached completion on Wright Brothers Spitalfields in November 2013 and since opening has received very positive feedback.
“People really like the restaurant and it feels as though it has been on this site for a very long time. We used lots of exposed brickwork and existing materials in the design, so it does not feel as if it has just arrived. The restaurant looks very natural, so there has been a lot of good feedback.
“As this was our first job with Wright Brothers this was a very important project for us. It was our first commercial project, so it has helped us to showcase what we can do.”
More to explore
As one of the UK’s most respected seafood wholesalers, Wright Brothers is in the unique position of being able to source oysters direct from its own Duchy Oyster Farm, part of the private estate of HRH The Prince of Wales on the Helford River in Cornwall.
Wright Brothers’ pacific oysters have an extremely high meat-to-shell ratio and since reappearing on the London market in 2007 have consistently topped the charts in independent tasting sessions. It is attention to detail and fantastic food which has placed Wright Brothers’ venues firmly in the minds of foodies and the curious alike.
Situated in the heart of London’s bustling Borough food market, just next to London Bridge, the award-winning Oyster & Porter House is a fantastic site in Wright Brothers’ portfolio. The restaurant includes a small, yet perfectly formed dining room, whilst outdoor tables are available on market days.
Oyster & Porter House presents a relaxed and informal atmosphere, which works perfectly with the cuisine which is overseen by head chef Phil Coulter. Oysters are the order of the day at the restaurant, with a wide range sourced from the best producers around the British Isles and France.
Wright Brothers’ third restaurant in London is Soho Oyster House, which is located in the popular West End district of the city. Soho Oyster House is split across three floors, with each area providing a very distinct space, from an open-plan kitchen on the first floor and a raw bar on the ground level.
To round out the Wright Brothers offering is The Ferryboat Inn, which is located in the North Helford Passage in Cornwall. Eating and drinking is central to The Ferryboat Inn, with a farm-to-plate philosophy that offers home-made pub classics, alongside seafood specialities.
The Ferryboat Inn is ideal for walkers or visitors to the nearby Trebah Gardens and with extensive car parking facilities the pub has attracted a bustling, family atmosphere.
For more information about Wright Brothers, please visit: www.wrightbrothers.co.uk.
Volente Bathrooms scoured green technology, the UK bespoke metal plating industry and even science labs to find the perfect products for the washrooms of the new Wright Brothers restaurant in London’s Spitalfields.
The latest eco-friendly products combined with contemporary industrial styling and antique bronze plating were the unusual brief from the project’s architect, Luke Chandresinghe.
Volente’s director, Nick Smith, said: “We sourced and supplied a rimless water-saving toilet system which cut the volume of water used per flush by half.
“We also sourced butler sinks and commissioned bespoke antique bronze taps, plus wastes and traps which were then plated to match the taps right here in the UK.”
Finally, there was the challenge of finding tiny sinks to fit in the individual cubicles in the ladies’ washrooms.
“We found there were none available in the bathroom market so we had to think laterally; in the end we found the perfect product from a UK lab company,” said Nick.
The unusual washrooms completed the innovative restaurant which is now open in Lamb Street, part of the old Spitalfields market.
Luke Chandresinghe is delighted with the finished washrooms. “Volente is really good at finding the quirky special bits we want within the price points we have,” he said. “Even though we changed the Wright Brothers’ spec several times, Nick didn’t give up and the finished products look fantastic on site.”
Volente is one of the UK’s leading bathroom supply companies, working with top designers, architects and developers on commercial and residential projects across the capital – and beyond.
For more information, please visit the website: www.volentebathrooms.co.ukor call 01525 211955.