Monday 7 September 2009

Oyster, Melbourne

It’s just the classy little place that Henry Hill could have opened to get away from a hard days work of mobster dealings. Oyster on Little Bourke has the European charm of a male Gucci model, from the chiselled marble bar, the candlelights on the draped white tables, cushy vinyl booths, the lighting that relaxes and could send someone to slumberland.

Despite the name, there are plenty of other things on the menu other than the slippery little suckers. Though they are very good and fresh and you can have them naturally with lemon and shallot & red wine vinegar, a salsa espanola of chopped red capsicum and capers or cooked classic Kilpatrick or cheese gratin style.

Riding the tapas bandwagon, Oyster has a stuzzichini (Italian for “to pick at”) of its own. On it, there are crisp school prawns with a wasabi aioli that runny noses won’t fear, lovely spiced and stewed eggplant with mint and a herb grilled lamb skewer and cute mini mini pizzas (the first mini for really tiny), thin bases topped with a simple tomato, leek and goats cheese. Two standouts were mini discs of sweetcorn fritters with a daube of creamy avocado and little steak of tuna and a good marriage of roasted apricots and honey glazed pork belly. Worth going just to nibble them.

Europeans know their steak and there’s a bold section strong suggesting you get one. They show equally high technique in the treatment of the roasted duck breast, beautifully moist and nicely browned skin, caramelised onion compote and sweetness from a deep liquor fruity brandied cherry jus.

A nice way to transition into dolce, stuzzichini also available but those looking for value should order nonna’s tiramisu that theatrically comes out in the copper pot its prepared in, the diner then handed a large brass spatula to take a scoop. I thought I took my $15 worth but obviously not when the waiter quipped “Is that all?”. Taking extra was definitely worth it.

A happy ending to a decent meal. Makes you feel like the world is your oyster.

3 / 5 yums!
Where? 35 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC
What? Small Dishes under $10, Entrees $20, Mains $36, Desserts $15

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