Oysters are one of life's great dividers. Like marmite, olives or blue cheese, these little beauties either elicit unbound enthusiasm or abject disgust. Very rarely, if at all, will you find someone who's approach is ambivalant.
And because they are so divisive, of course they come with their fair share of faux etiquette and folklore. From how to eat them to their medicinal qualities, it can be hard to know where to begin. Though first of all, right out the gate let us start with one simple truth. Not all oysters are created equal.
Like different cuts of steak, oysters can vary in texture, taste, size and finish. More than anything it's a matter of personal preference. Bigger is not always better. For our oyster menu we've selected some of our favourites ranging from Colchesters - firm, meaty and known for a leather and bronze finish to the decidedly more delicate Lindisfarne which are extremeley buttery, very silky and with a subtle metalic finish. Really, the only way to find out what works for you is try them.
Our oysters are pretty awesome all year round (you can thank the cold waters off the coast for that), however as we make our way in to Autumn and Winter they really do get that extra bit more delicious. What we look for consistently across the board is a gorgeous, opaque fish that is full in the shell. As a general rule, oysters take on the characteristics of the bay they are grown in so you can expect notes to range from cucumber and melon, right through to woodier, nuttier profiles.
So how do you eat them? Well, like any good piece of meat you chew it. You can dress them up with lemon, onions or tabasco - though purists really do prefer them to be without any dressing. For full effect make sure you also take in the oyster juice (or liquor as it's more formally known) as it really enhances the flavour and it adds to the over all experience. To pour it away would be a waste! While more recently there's been a shift to oysters with beers or spirits, we prefer a truly classical pairing. For us, nothing beats a Veuve Clicquot. Any excuse for bubbles right?
As we move further in to Winter we'll be getting more and more native oysters in, including the juicy, plump beauties from Loch Ryan known for their tasty woody flavour with just a hint of lemon and a zinc finish. However, you're always guaranteed fabulous oysters with our house serve - a classic Cumbrae. Firm and meaty and with a copper finish, these are among the most delicious oysters going and we're delighted to be able to offer them as part of our weekly Oyster Happy Hour!
If you're still hesitant, there's no better time to dive in than now. Oysters have never tasted better. Delivered fresh every day we always have a tremendous selection of the best oysters going. Our Oyster Happy Hour is every Friday between 5-7 at The 158 Champagne and Oyster Bar and offers £1 oysters on our Cumbrae oysters. There's never been a better way to raise a glass (and a shell) and declare Thank Shuck It's Friday!