Eating out: Bites: New oyster cult

RETURN of the native and other oyster stories.

Black Bull Inn, Moulton, North Yorkshire (01325 377289). Mon-Sat lunch and dinner. A North Yorks stronghold of good traditional eating, some of which takes place in a Pullman carriage at the back of what's much more than a pub. Irish oysters are pounds 6.75 for half a dozen, or half a dozen come grilled with pesto, pine nuts and parmesan for pounds 7.75.

Carrington Arms, Moulsoe, near Newport Pagnall, Bucks (01908 218050). Daily lunch and dinner. A pub with a cut-to-the-chase approach. Choose from a display of seafood and steaks, and tank lobsters - pay by weight and watch the chef cook them. There's also a bar devoted to champagne, oysters and caviar. The first is pounds 3.40 a glass, pounds 25-pounds 80 a bottle; the oysters from Cuan, in Ireland, are pounds 1 each, or, to encourage gluttony, pounds 9 for a dozen.

Fishes', Market Place, Burnham Market, Norfolk (01328 738 588). Tue- Sat lunch and dinner, Sun lunch. Testament to the staying power of women and the appeal of reasonable prices, this female-run fish restaurant has been going strong for more than 25 years. It sources from the sea and fresh water (and in the case of oysters, both together). These oysters come from Brancaster, pounds 6 for half a dozen live, pounds 6.50 baked with Stilton or garlic.

Loch Fyne Restaurant, 37 Trumpington Street, Cambridge (01223 362433). Daily 9am-10pm. Scotland's largest oyster producer is on the move. This conversion of a 500-year-old pub is its latest outpost, following branches in Nottingham, Peterborough and Loch Fyne itself. Oysters are the rock or Pacific variety at pounds 8.90 a dozen. Or try the French fisherman's combo of live oysters with hot venison sausages.

Moxon's, 14 Clapham Park Road, London SW4 (0171-627 2468). Mon-Sat dinner. A simple, stripped-down Clapham dining room has landed a shoal of customers for great fish cooked with care and imagination, and a wine list to match. Oysters from Whitstable (better, ex-fishmonger Robin Moxon believes, than the milky ones from Cuan) come with shallot vinegar and lemon (pounds 1.25 each) or grilled with parmesan, spinach and garlic for pounds 1.35 each.

Randall & Aubin, 16 Brewer Street, London W1 (0171-287 4447). Mon-Sat noon-11pm, Sun 4-11pm. Apart from all sorts of oysters - from pounds 7.50 for half a dozen Irish ones, pounds 12 a dozen - including Rockerfeller and Kilpatrick, this Soho pit stop has platters of fruits de mer, and rotisserie chickens. Service could be better.

Caroline Stacey

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