”Shucking an oyster is like pursuing a beautiful woman.
You pry away at it and when it begins to give, you know the sweet reward is imminent.”
~ Chopinand, co-author ChopinandMysaucepan
Note: The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room is having an Oyster Festival throughout August 2013 offering $1 oysters from 6.00pm – 7.00pm daily.
“Where’s The Morrison?” my friend Vince asks.
“It used to be The Brooklyn on George street, one of our old watering holes” I say.
“They have an oyster promotion during the whole month of August too, I looooove oysters!” Mysaucepan adds enthusiastically.
“We’ll meet you guys there then, we want to buy you a belated birthday dinner” he tells us.
The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room is executive chef Sean Connolly’s chic eatery in the heart of Sydney CBD where his philosophy of food cooked on the bone and in the shell is reflected all over the menu.
We turn up for our booking at 8.15pm this Saturday night and the oyster room is packed with people having cocktails and drinks at the bar.
So be forewarned – this space is loud, boisterous and crowded. If you are looking for more intimate conversation, it’s better to request for a table at the atrium located at the rear of the restaurant.
The stylish space goes from breakfast joint on Mondays to Fridays and transforms into a bar and oyster room.
The oyster menu showcases the freshest bivalves from some of the best oyster-growing regions around Australia ranging from Coffin Bay in South Australia to Port Stephens in New South Wales.
The iconic Sydney rock oyster features prominently on the daily oyster boards at the shucking stations of the restaurant.
The Big Brother of oysters, the Angassi, when available comes from three regions of the Pacific – Honeymoon Bay in New South Wales, St Helens in the northeast coast of Tasmania and Coffin Bay in South Australia.
A bottle of NV Sunnycliff bubbly comes from Red Cliff, a lesser known wine-growing region in Victoria located about 500km northwest of Melbourne.
This sparkling wine is crisp and clean on the palate with hints of lemon from a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, certainly an easy and delightful drop to go with fresh oysters.
Our waitress is enthusiastic and knowledgeable, taking us through the array of oysters and clams on offer tonight.
We decide on half a dozen each of Sydney rock and Pacific oysters for starters. The oysters come in a bed of crushed ice which makes a lot more sense to me than a bed of salt pebbles as some restaurants would have it.
The sweet and tangy French vinaigrette with eschallots is chilled and probably the next best thing to eating a raw oyster as it is.
Still one of my personal favourite to go with freshly shucked oysters is a few drops of Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Ever since I learnt to shuck oysters, I prefer to buy them fresh and un-shucked because I can retain the natural and salty brine of the sea as opposed to it being rinsed away by most seafood retailers.
Shucking an oyster is like pursuing a beautiful woman. You pry away at it and when it begins to give, you know the sweet reward is imminent.
You can check out my instructions on how to shuck an oyster here.
The oysters are super fresh and I request they don’t rinse away the natural brine. The Sydney rock has a deep and rich taste and I can easily eat a couple of dozens.
The Pacific oysters are more plump and creamy. A gentle bite releases the salty flavour of the sea.
A chilli crab linguine comes in a fairly generous portion. The pasta is al dente and flavours are predominantly from the continental parsley.
The crab meat is fresh and sweet although there is hardly any spiciness the name of this dish implies.
Can anyone refuse potato chips deep-fried in duck fat?
A sprinkle of salt brings out the flavour of these duck fat chips despite dipping them in a creamy lemon aioli.
We warm up to a side of roast mushrooms with thyme and olive oil as we eagerly wait for our main course.
The menu is made up of finger food to snack on if you prefer a light meal. There are also communal dishes meant to be shared among a few diners.
A 2010 Magpie Estate The Schnell Shiraz Grenache has a bouquet of dark fruits with hints of pepper and spice. It is drinking well now although it has some legs to mature in the bottle for a few more years.
The oysters we had for our entree were supremely fresh and delicious but our slow cooked pork hock is a spectacle when it lands on the table.
It is one of three communal dish choices on the menu. It is a huge, golden brown chunk of a knuckle with a knife stabbed on top of it and we figure it will give the four a us a good challenge.
Rather than the usual mashed potato, I like the clever alternative of a bed of snow crab and lentils the pork hock is sitting on.
Mysaucepan volunteers to de-bone this piece of meat and the rind sings out some crispy and crackling notes as she sink the knife into it.
I can tell the pork hock is cooked well from the way the bone easily dislodges from the meat.
This dish is a beautiful way to share the decadence with a few people.
The meat is crispy on the outside and beautifully succulent inside. As a chilli fiend, the waitress obliges my request for some fresh red chillies and olive oil.
I’ve tried a couple of Schweinshaxn which comes with sauerkraut in German-style pubs. However, this one takes the prize for a perfect roast pork hock.
This is how bones should look like after a good roast – totally cleaned of meat after we have finished.
There have been a couple of adverse reviews about this restaurant but tonight, the oysters cannot be fresher, the chilli crab pasta is a winner and the roast pork hock is definitely the hero of the evening.
A deconstructed lemon and rasberry cheesecake looks like it could have been inspired by the artworks of John Olsen.
I also notice late night jaffles (choice of crab and creme fraiche or baked beans or fontina cheese and chives) on the menu which says they are available when the kitchen closes.
That’s also definitely something to think about after a pub crawl in the city late in the evening. But I strongly suggest you first get in there for the oysters and roast pork hock.
So dear readers, do you like fresh oysters and do you think oysters are really an aphrodisiac as people make them out to be?
The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room
225 George street, Sydney
New South Wale
Tel: +61 2 9247 6744
Monday to Wednesday 7.30 am – 12 am
Thursday 7.30 am – 1 am
Friday 7.30 am – 2 am
Saturday 11.30am – 2 am
Sunday 11.30am – 10 pm
Note: A surcharge of 10% will be added to you bill for groups of 8 or more.