When West London events impresario Eazy Bailey gave us a call about a weekend event on Osea Island, we were intrigued. My knowledge of Osea was hazy … a private island off Essex where the great and the good (or rather the famous and the fabulous) go and get their rocks off, far away from the preying paps.
The tiny island lies in the Blackwater Estuary, Maldon (of sea salt fame), Essex. It's connected to the mainland by a marshy causeway that can only be accessed for 4 hours a day when the tide is low enough.
Formerly a motor torpedo boat base in WW1, where 2000 soldiers were posted, it was then established as a retreat for wealthy alcoholics. This evolved into The Causeway Centre, where Amy Winehouse was treated. She recorded Back to Black in Osea's recording studio; as rumour has it, it was the only place she could focus and not escape to go on a bender.
The island was put on the market in 2010 and, having holidayed there for years, music producer Nigel Frieda snapped it up for a cool £5.4m.
And Eazy's quietly turning it into London's most exclusive party destination, outside London.
As we bumped over the causeway, Osea was shrouded in fog and intrigue. Amplify, a trendy East London marketing agency, had taken Osea over for the weekend and we'd been invited to cater in the Captain's House.
When Osea's New England seaside vibe was immediately covered by decks and giant speakers, it was obvious these guys knew how to party....
The theme was Shipwrecked, so we tried to create a dinner that could have been "foraged" on the island ... Osea is a hotbed for oysters so the starter was eaten metres from where they were picked that morning, and they tasted SO GOOD!
THURSDAY 12th DECEMBER 2013
"Shipwrecked on Osea"
Potted Crab in jam jars with campfire toast
Osea Island oysters served on driftwood with shallot vinegar
Mackerel ceviche with pickled sea cucumber, served in shells
Foraged sea vegetable salad
Smoked quails legs
Ballotine of chicken and quail and wild boar sausage skewers
with butternut puree, savoy cabbage and sautéed potatoes
Sea Salted Caramel Sundaes
with edible sand and shells
THANK YOU OSEA! What a weekend ... can't wait to return ...
(next time as a guest!!)