Ok, so I’ll admit it….I am a total seafood freak. Put a plate of grilled, poached or smoked ‘any’fish in front of me or some yummy mussels or oysters and watch how they vanish as fast as you put them down.
So when we received an invitation to visit Oyster Bar at Customs House last week, I instantly started salivating in anticipation.
Whilst I had walked past Oyster Bar several times in the past, I’d seldom given it much thougth, but after this week’s visit, I’m rather lamenting not discovering it sooner.
To the average passerby, Oyster Bar looks like a potentially pretentious upmarket champagne bar by the bay. I won’t lie, that was also my first impression, but after spending an afternoon there, I was pleased that I was not only wrong, but that inside this sleek glasshouse is not just a great and extensive menu, but a plethora of wonderfully creative drinks and culinary delights.
As you may have guessed from the name of the place, the theme here is oysters, fish…and of course Champagne, martinis and cocktails. So my first impression was not totally off. It is quite a luxurious affair and it’s certainly not cheap (thought not as expensive as I’d previously thought in all fairness).
The majority of the dishes here are designed for sharing are generally priced around $22 for a small serving, or $39 for a big one.
To start things off, we ordered a big plate of their salmon: Salmon tartare, smoked salmon, mascarpone and ikura on brioche. I’m a total sucker for smoked salmon. You often hear the phrase ‘I have a spare stomach for dessert’, well this Nomad has a spare stomach for smoked salmon. See my recap of the Superbrunch at Ritz-Carlton for proof ;-).
Not only was this dish beautifully presented, the fish was spectacularly fresh and good quality. The entire combination of flavours was just perfect. If you really want to have a food-orgasm, pair this was a glass of one of their buttery Blanc de Blancs Champagne. It will not disappoint.
But seeing that we wanted to be a little more adventurous, I decided to go for a Martini. Unlike many bars, here you can choose how you want to have your martini…everything from the base spirit, to infusion and bitters. They don’t come cheap but they are quite impressive…and they don’t skimp on the booze.
This kind of martini will floor a horse after a couple of rounds. In this instance, I went on recommendation and ordered the jasmine infused. Now I know this looks a bit girly, but you just try this, whilst having a sweet floral aroma and taste, the gin comes through and makes this one sharp -James-Bond-martini-kind-a-drink. Wow mama!
So, being that we were at Oyster Bar, it seemed appropriate to sample the venue’s dish-namesake and see how it held up.
Well, the words ‘passed’ and ‘flying colours’ come to mind. Going through 4 different styles of oysters, each variation was unique and quite delicious. First up was the standard Oyster bar platter, composed of 3 pairs of different oysters. These fresh, plump oysters were served up with raspberry vinaigrette and white wine vinaigrette to add as you see fit. I’ll admit, the white wine accompaniment didn’t really do it for me, however the raspberry added a slightly sweet and sour touch to the oyster that was spot on.
After our appetites has been thoroughly moistened, the first of the chic oyster dishes arrived: the Champagne Oyster ($15). And yes that is a blowtorch in the photo. So basically you get a lovely couple of oysters served up with 2 shots of champagne. Then their secret mix, a sort of cinnamon, brown sugar paste is melted over the oysters…pop it all in and enjoy. A distinctively Christmassy flavour which is really quite enjoyable.
Next up to was the Emerald Glacier ($10). A fresher dish, basically 2 oysters with some light, crunchy cucumber. Pretty presentation and tasty oysters. It would be a good way to start the evening on a night out.
Now what is below was definitely my pick of the speciality oyster dishes: Broken Mary ($12). Effectively a deconstructed bloody mary with the oyster suspended in a lime infused vodka. Just such a cool dish/drink. Strong fragrance of pica-pepper and damn tasty.
Finally moving away from oyster town, we decided to give some of their land dishes a try, in this case the Oyster Bar Sliders ($39) – Wagyu mini burger with bacon wrapped oyster or foie gras, tomatoes and potato. Very well made. You can tell throughout the thought that had gone in to ensuring quality and fresh ingredients. Bizarrely enough, what I really found more-ish was the tomatoes and potato chunks…Oh, and these sliders are served with a plate of blue cheese sauce, truffle mayonnaise and bourbon ketchup…And trust me, all three are splendid.
There was even room for a bit of dessert at the end which as expected did not disappoint – Creme Brulee & Double Chocolate brownie ($15 each). Kudos Chef.
In the CBD, there is a huge selection of bars and restaurants and there’s a lot of good quality places. For me, this trip to Oyster Bar was quite enlightening..It’s a great alternative to some of the other venues along the bay. Here you get a superb view and top notch food, drinks and service. If you are feeling a little indulgent and fancy some fabulous seafood paired with quality cocktails, martinis or Champagne, Oyster Bar should be right at the top of your list.
Written by The City Nomad
On this occasion, the meal was hosted by Oyster Bar.