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“Excellent Fish and Chips, but”

West Mersea Oyster Bar
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$15 - US$23
Cuisines: Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly, Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, After-hours, Delivery, Reservations, Takeout
United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
171 reviews
110 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
“Excellent Fish and Chips, but”
Reviewed 12 September 2011

Ate here twice after the business became solely (pun) a place to eat not a seafood supplier from early in 2010. No coffee so do not expect a caff.
Last time we ate at the picnic tables overlooking the estuary, this time inside.

It is a pleasure to eat from the fried fish menu, but you should note apart from e.g. the "Colchester" oysters reared on the Island this restaurant buys in now from other suppliers who sell all over the UK.

Most of the seafood platter could have been bought in jars and from the freezer cabinet in any supermarket, but you could not match the price at home.
Dressed crab was good and is also available at a fishmonger.
Bread and fiddly small catering butter packs very poor examples of the cheapest budget.
Mass factory catering meets local oyster farming.
Just lazy, cheap and so unprofessional.

It can be a very busy place and impossible to find a seat if you haven't booked and you might have have to join the queue.

Seating is not that organised so be patient if you want to stay.
It is no longer run like the former business of 2010 as both a wholesale fish source and eating in.

Now a catering operation which will not turn away any customers if it can eventually seat them.

Quick turnover of covers is the business mission.

On our recent visit the queueing was annoying because the same line formed to pay for food or order on arrival.

Food is quite good and there are several staff preparing at the counter grill and prep area in full view.
Service is pleasant and friendly. Over-worked to the point of inefficient because there is a lack of a professional system.
The business needs organisation at front of house.

It is like a village Cypriot Taverna faced with experienced Tesco customers and it cannot cope.
The seating plan is not. Geddit?
Probably puts off repeat custom by people who have come from beyond Essex to enjoy the pace and peace of Mersea Island.

Now like the other local Mersea shambles of eateries which rely on local young staff who need harsh remedial training very badly.

If necessary we advise you book in advance and if you are expected to wait an hour to pay the bill, be tempted like us to just WALK OUT after leaving a note at the counter for the owners to contact you later.
Be prepared to be frustrated at the waiting.
Very popular because you might be standed on Mersea and, and as one of the the new co-owners told me, 850 covers can be typical in high season.
The business could teach TV cooks how to make money and lower standards at the same time.

Not much choice of alternative places or serious competition on the Island because there is insufficient talent.
Many visitors are poorly served in this area of the county.

Colchester area has declined while other Essex towns and villages created "gastro-pubs" and good value family eating out.

Wonderful local produce of fish, fruit and veg still available in abundance if you self cater!
We write as biased with local family resident on Mersea Island.
This is not a polemic, but better local food is available.

  • Visited September 2011
    • Service
    • Food
3 Thank John W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
colchester essex
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“shame about the lobster”
Reviewed 29 August 2011

Visiting with friends down from Norfolk last time there was no lobster left so we were determined to have it this time & booked a table in advance.
What a dissappointment though!
The lobster was overcooked & very rubbery.Told both the waitress and when paying the bill but no interest shown.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank tripup_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2011

Visited on our 53rd wedding anniversary as a treat....it was crowded and very noisy but we persevered...had to wait for a seat by the window, very cramped...splashed out on lobster..totally inedible..consistency of a michelin tyre, certainly not michelin star !...when we complained they did not even appologise, still charged the full price with the usual mantra---" nobody else has complained"..left it on the plate and suggested they try to eat it....better fish and chips in Morrisons...try the Peldon Rose before going to Mersea, they never dissapoint

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
3 Thank william g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fantastic food!”
Reviewed 25 July 2011

My friend and I went yesterday from London and were very pleased with our choice. The understated restaurant was casual and relaxed and the outside seating was perfect for a warm day by the sea. As we are both from London we're used to always being in a rush, therefore found the service a little slow and unorganised. All this however is forgiven as soon as u take a bite out of the half a lobster and fat home made chips that we ordered- it was superb! Will most certainly be coming back!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank Nmkhan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hadleigh, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Not good for takeaway”
Reviewed 16 July 2011

My family and I picked up takeaway fish and chips here and it wasn't good at all. To start with it cost £23 for two kids portions, cod and chips and scampi. The kids portions were terrible only a couple of chips which were very undercooked, we had two share our adult portion with them. The fish was ok but nothing special, I told the lady I didn't want mushy peas and tarter sauce, hoping that this would reduce the cost, but I got them anyway. I have to say the tables inside were very busy and many were reserved, so it may be just the takeaways or even just an off day. Personally if you want traditional fish and chips, then don't go here, if you prefer a small 'posher' version then this may be for you.

Visited July 2011
1 Thank squirrellfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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