About the Café

The original running of the cockle business began along Cockleshed Row where the factory is now situated.  It wasn’t until after the 1st World War had ended that the family moved to the current premises at Billet Wharf.

The Café is positioned at the entrance to Old Leigh, on Billet Wharf overlooking the Thames Estuary.  The building is a former 18th century stable mews which belonged to the Crooked Billet public house, which was used to house the horse and carriages delivering ale to the pub.

The building remains largely unchanged from the outside, it is still a weatherboard timber and iron building.  The inside has been updated to reflect the changing needs of the business over a century although it still retains its original old fashioned charm.

Originally cockles were cooked on the premises at the back of the building where they were off loaded from the boats directly into the cooking area.  However, during the 1980s, the cooking process was moved to Cockleshed Row to meet with the changing health and safety requirements of cockle processors.

The Café has developed its product range over time to reflect the changing tastes of its customers.  Besides selling traditional shellfish and seafood such as cockles, prawns and jellied eels, it also offers a range of freshly prepared salads, sandwiches, paninis, jacket potatoes and seafood platters for customers to enjoy in our outside seating area overlooking the estuary.  Please click here to see a copy of our menu.

The Café is open seven days a week, all year, apart from Christmas Day.  Today the business still offers that unique blend of old and new, so many of our customers have wonderful memories of visiting the cocklesheds as children for their cockles, prawns and brown shrimps and want to continue that tradition with their own families.  We recognise that and want to preserve that special quality that brings our customers back time after time.