Oysters polarise. Which is great because, as an oyster lover, you’re always a chance of picking up that extra bivalve the guy next to you at (insert friend’s name here)’s party turned his nose up at. Hot tip, oyster lovers: Find that guy. Sit next to him. Hotter tip, oyster lovers: Check out these Sydney establishments doing the oyster justice.
The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay
When people talk about The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay, they’re often talking about the snapper pie. For good reason, I hasten to add. It’s amazing. But so too are the oysters. The oyster menu features a host of Sydney Rock options from the south and mid north coast as well as a few Pacific treats as well as, the pièce de résistance, the Moonlight Flat Angassi. You can’t go wrong.
The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room
Guys, it’s an entire room dedicated to oysters. What’s not to love? Take your seat at one of The Oyster Room’s communal tables and watch on as your selection is shucked-to-order. The Morrison offers more than 30 Australian varieties—I mean, the menu is called the ‘Oyster Library’—and the sommelier can help you match your choice. As well as the usual suspects, the Pacific and Sydney Rock oysters, you’ll find the rare and meaty Angassi here too.
Jonah’s Whale Beach
The view. Oh, the view. But direct your eyes to the menu for a moment and you’ll be equally impressed. Grab half a dozen of Sydney’s finest ‘Rocks’, add a steely chardonnay and you’ve got one perfect afternoon gazing over the spangled water of Whale Beach.
The Harbour Bridge in all its glory, the Opera House to your right and half a dozen Sydney Rock oysters ready for the eating. Now that is quintessentially Sydney! Raw at Opera Bar is dedicated to the unadulterated flavours of natural, locally-sourced produce and offers Pacific or Sydney Rock oysters with a mignonette, ponzu or tabasco sauce. Or kick things off with a gazpacho or virgin Mary oyster shot. Down the hatch!
Sydney Fish Market
The Sydney Fish Market is an icon. A visit will astonish the senses, particularly, and most pleasingly, the tastebuds. If you want fresher oysters, you’ll need to farm them yourself. The tasty little bivalves are available at a number of the market’s retailers with Peter’s, Nicholas Seafood Traders, Claudio’s Seafoods and Christie’s Seafood among the best.
Café Sydney is a local institution and the oysters—freshly shucked on ice with eschalot, chive and forum chardonnay vinegar—are a delight. Still hungry? Yeah, I hear ya. Get your oyster fix and then some with the seafood platter starring oyster, crab, Moreton Bay bug, scampi, prawn, marron on ice, mayonnaise and cocktail sauce.
The team who brought us Hartsyard have made another splash on Enmore Road with The Gretz moving in earlier this year. Nautical without the naff, the cocktail bar presents a short menu with a seafood focus. The oysters? Well, they’re a treat whether you take them cold with pickled green apple and sorrel granita or hot with smoked butter emulsion. (PS: $10 pints!)
The Emporium Parramatta
Parramatta might be a little further from the ocean but the creamy Sydney Rock oysters pack the same fresh punch at The Emporium. Freshly shucked, order yours natural, with sake and lime granita or with caramelised red wine vinegar and eschallot. The latter is the winner for mine but they’re all worth a try.
The Powder Keg
Oysters with a gin and tonic sorbet. Did you hear me? I said oysters with a gin. and. tonic. sorbet. It’s no wonder, really. The Powder Keg is a dedicated gin joint and does it well, boasting one of the largest boutique gin collections in the southern hemisphere. The oyster-gin partnership works exceptionally well and, for what it’s worth, the presentation renders the dish almost too good to tuck into. Almost.
Surely oysters are best enjoyed on the sparkling waterfront and that’s exactly the setting that awaits at Ecco in Drummoyne. As well as natural with lemon, the Sydney Rock oysters are served with a sweet and tangy salsa of watermelon, raspberry vinegar and chive salsa. Hey, here’s an idea. Treat this guide as a to-do list. There would certainly be worse places to finish than Ecco.
Image credit: The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room