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The Native or flat oyster is the oyster that made Whitstable famous. Since before the arrival of the Romans these bivalves were abundant on the nutrient-rich waters that form the Thames Estuary. The location of Whitstable allows the rich Thames water to mix with the saltwater of the North Sea and in the shallows the water is warm providing the perfect environment for the algae that forms the diet of the native oysters.

Now being the prime season for oysters we decided that after the last few days of traditional Christmas food it was time for a change and there is nothing better than a plate of oysters, grilled lobster and Whitstable stout.

If you haven’t been to Whitstable then you should add it to your list of places to visit. A town with a historic seafaring legacy and if you didn’t already know it’s where the deep sea diving helmet was conceived. These days it is now a destination Kent Coastal town with a high street full of shops selling decorative items for the home, vintage clothing and furniture plus the iconic Whitstable Oyster Company restaurant and some great pubs and beachside oyster bars.

For the House Of Tales it was the last day out as a family before the commercial pressures of life kick in from Monday onwards. After the hour and a half drive from SW London we arrived in Whitstable in time for lunch, before we settled into our sea food lunch a quick visit to Flory & Black, a store that makes the best candles money can buy, they really do last and burn properly, one I purchased in February 2014 has only just finished.

Lunch consisted of a plate of Native Oysters, a grilled Lobster with garlic butter for young Tales and a locally caught sea bass for the good lady. I have to say the Whitstable Oyster Company restaurant is a great place, run well and has a great atmosphere, it’s consistently good. What is really great is that the location is on the beach so a stroll on the beach after lunch or dinner in the summer is a must. Today we watched the tide drop, the setting sun light up the sands, silhouette the groynes and The Old Neptune, the pub known as neppy situated on the beach near Island Wall.

I understand why the Romans were so keen on eating oysters, the Native Whitstable Oysters are what I consider to be the best.