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Your usual table?: Mary Quant, designer

Who eats where

Obituary: Robert Allen

THE ACTOR Robert Allen was once better known as Bob "Tex" Allen, one of the first of the white-hatted cowboy stars who thrilled cinema audiences long ago.


Bill Bentley's

Restaurants: Where shall we meet ... in Soho

However prim you are, the odd moment of decadence is essential. And one of the few moments that can be discussed in broad-audience print is when you're eating oysters. There's something about the little chappies, nestling in a bed of nacre, so innocent of their fate, that brings out the Sybarite in every carnivore. They promise everything that food can give in terms of ritual, pleasure and horror: that squeeze of lemon, the dash of Tabasco, the quick flick round the shell with the fork, the backwards tip of the head, the mouth-swirl, that squeamish moment as it hits your tonsils and you think for a split second about what you're doing. Then there's that gulp of repugnance turning into a sigh of sheer, protein- based joy.

When the gonging gets tough consult an old hand

BEEN OFFERED something in the next New Year's Honours List recently? Don't know how to react? Are you as baffled as if you'd won the Lottery or seen the Virgin Mary in a vision? Then turn to our honours expert, the Hon Hugo Ferris-Wheel to talk you through this very tricky period of your life. All yours, sir ... !

Is the sun setting on the last of Britain's oystermen?

Tides of filth from a new pounds 10m treatment plant in Cornwall threat en to leave centuries-old fishery high and dry, writes Matt Pengelly

Restaurants: White magic

Ben Rogers is spellbound by Mirabelle

Travel: White sands, tasty crabs

Where do you go for wildlife, magnificent beaches and the ultimate cowboys and Indians story? Florida, writes James Fox

Letter: Save European TV

SUZANNE MOORE ("Spare the Teletubbies", 11 March) is right to argue that parents should watch more TV with their kids. But she misses a key point: that our children have a right to a whole range of tales from their own society, Europe and the rest of the world. What they are actually able to receive has narrowed, as cable and satellite kids' channels just recycle imported US animation.


All-in-one knitted nylon suits might make you smile, but where would you be without the microwave and the remote control? Katherine Sorrell looks at the concept house

My yummy Valentine

This year, supermarkets and food companies have taken that old adage to heart about the way to a man's heart (or a woman's for that matter) being through the stomach.

Food & Drink: Reader offer

If you want to order an oyster cracker you can get one at a special price for IoS readers of pounds 8.99 (p&p included), from Rossmore Oysters, Carrigtwohill, County Cork, tel: 00 353 2188 3248. You can order oysters by mail from Loch Fyne Smokehouse, Clachan Ardkinglas, Cairndow, Argyllshire PA26 BBH, tel: 01499 600217. Johnny Noble, who grows them, trains his oysters to survive many days out of water, thus guaranteeing freshness when they arrive in their attractive wooden punnets.

I work for: Anita Roddick

Karen Bishop is PA to the founder of the Body Shop.




Since oyster etiquette dictates that their consumption is only allowed when there is an "r" in the month, oyster aficionados up and down the country are salivating at the imminent arrival of September. To mark the occasion in London, Hay's Galleria is hosting its annual Oyster and Seafood Fair, which last year netted more than 20,000 crustacean-lovers. As well as tastings, visitors can also mug up on little-known gems such as the fact that in 1984, several tons of crushed oysters were mixed with cement to repair the roof of Colchester Castle in Essex, or that oysters are ambi-sexual, starting life as males and then changing back and forth between the sexes.
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Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
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