Thursday, 15 August 2013

Oyster Festival @ The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room

 The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room located on the corner of George and Grosvenor Street in the CBD (which was once the Brooklyn Hotel and my old lunchtime stomping ground) is serving up $1 oysters between 6pm and 7pm daily for the month of August in celebration of this little bivalve mollusc which is renowned for its aphrodisiac qualities. 

I have been meaning to get there all month long and just not managed to yet so I took the opportunity to meet two friends there for a drink and a dozen oysters last night.  Sadly, my friends are returning to the UK after living in Sydney for the past 2 years and I am trying to persuade them to return again soon.  What better way than ply them with beer and eat a tray of Coffin Bay oysters to entice them?

I arrived before 6pm and find that it is already busy and no tables available.  So I order myself a glass of Sav Blanc and stand in the corner waiting, while taking in the surrounds. 

After a few minutes I eye a waiter and I manage to snag myself a table but am asked to be finished by 6.30.  Well that's not going to happen and the lovely waiter manages to find me another table!  Happy Hour has already begun and at $5 drinks it's popular, particularly with the knowledge of $1 oysters being served at 6pm.  A great deal for early doors.

Waiting for my friends to arrive and noticing the line up for oysters is every increasing before they even start service, I decide to line up myself for a dozen.

oysters on a half shelf
A big platter of dozen Coffin Bay oysters (which are from South Australia) and are an Angassi Oyster (as opposed to a Rock or Pacific) and sit atop a bed of ice, garnished with lemon wedges are they are screaming out for me to dig in.  They are plump and glistening in their deep shells, but unfortunately I find these oysters far to briny.  Overly briny and my tongue tingles with the salt and I shudder as I try to swallow the oyster. It's like taking a mouthful of seawater.

Wash it down with a glass of wine.

a dozen and sav blanc please

I started eating oysters as a kid, a rarity for the age group, but when I was eight years old I had a bad one and it put me off eating them for over 25 years. It's only in recent years that I have started to eat them again.  I am no oyster aficionado, nor do I eat oysters very often, but I do know that I like them creamy and not to salty. I prefer Sydney rock oysters over the 'noxious' Pacific oyster and I haven't tasted Coffin Bay oysters before. I can't help feeling a little disappointed (even if they are only $1).  Are Coffin Bay oysters supposed to be super briny?

The menu on the website hints at the Coffin Bay oyster not being for the lighthearted with the following description - "Coffin Bay "Cultured Natives", SA With its strong seafood and mineral punch; this oyster is not for the lighthearted."  mmmm, perhaps there should be a milder one on offer?

I decide to drain off the juice that has pooled in the shells and add a squirt of lemon juice.  Next couple are better but still very briny.

My friends arrive and once they are settled with a beer they decide to share a dozen. On of my friends has only ever eaten one oyster in her life so for her this is going to be new ground.  I'm not sure if she is going to like the brininess (and the texture!).  Her face says it all and she agrees that they are far to salty.  So lemon juice and a dash of hot pepper sauce does the trick and we manage to eat our platters of oysters. 
lemon and hot pepper sauce

Even though the oysters were overpowering, I loved the atmosphere of this bar and definitely would like to return for a graze off the menu.  Sean Connolly has designed a great menu and besides, who doesn't want to eat duck fat chips and fresh oysters? Make mine Rock thanks!  The Morrison is by far better than the Brooklyn Hotel any day!

The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room on Urbanspoon

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