After a long afternoon on the beach, especially for tired hungry adults, there is an even better reason to visit Mersea island – the fish and chips.

One of the best places in Mersea to get your hands on some, as well as some of the local delicacies, is the West Mersea Oyster Bar.

On a warm sunny day, you can sit outside the bar and watch the boats go by.

However, the day we visited it wasn’t to be – with five children all under six realising the sea wasn’t as warm as they thought it was, we headed inside to the restaurant.

Despite it being August, and ignoring the old saying that one should only eat oysters if there is an “R” in the month, my friend and I felt compelled to try out the restaurant’s namesake and promptly ordered three rock oysters each as a starter.

When the season starts again this month, I shall be back for the “natives” but these went down a treat.

The children all had fish and chips, of course.

I rarely get much feedback from the boys on their food, so I tend to go on a) how much they’ve eaten and b) how much ketchup it’s taken for them to do so.

The result here was good, virtually all clean plates with minimal sauce required.

Unfortunately, my first choice of scallops was sold out so instead, eager to try something I hadn’t had before, I plumped for the battered skate.

The shape of a skate wing means you get a really thin crisp coating of batter which just peels off like a crisp piece of chicken skin – lovely.

My friend went for the haddock, which rather enviously came with some mushy peas.

Fortunately, both mains came with the oyster bar’s homemade tartare sauce, which really made a difference.

Over the years I’ve been coming here, the food has always been consistently good and the increased variety on the menu means there’s so many more reasons to keep coming back.

Robin James

What we ate

3 Rock Oysters: £2.50

Kids cod and chips: £4.95

Battered skate and chips: £10.95

Battered haddock with chips and mushy peas: £10.95

Our verdict

Atmosphere ****

Decor ***

Service ***

Food ****

Value ****