Pun-loving pop up Mussel Men has moved around the borough, but has now found anchorage in a cute new restaurant on the Kingsland Road. Dalston isn’t fabled for its nautical associations, but Shetland mussels, cheeky navy uniforms and a wide sail shading the garden give the restaurant an authentically breezy Scottish seaside atmosphere.
Owner Robin Dunlop comes from a village near Edinburgh, and his family run an oyster farm near Oban. Robin and his cousin started off in the catering business at the Edinburgh Festival, wearing kilts and selling oysters from a basket at The Pleasance. They sold seafood from Salty the trailer, and then began a monthly pop up at Brew For Two on Morning Lane. They have expanded their menu, but still source most of the seafood from Scotland and the rest of the UK.
A month-long residency at the old Dead Doll’s Club on Kingsland Road was extended to six months before they moved up the road to their new permanent space. There’s a seafood barbecue at weekends, the chance to win a T-shirt in a thumb war with Robin, and you can eat chowder, mussels or scallops washed down with prosecco, Brewdog beers or a pun-laced cocktail: if you’re feeling brave try Sea Sir, a Bloody Mary Caesar using mussel broth.
The jumble of clubs, corner shops, caffs and charity outlets on Kingsland Road just got saltier and more Scottish: welcome to Mussel Men! And here’s how to cook your own moules marinière and mix a Scottish Old Fashioned.