Oyster Little Bourke
As its name implies, Oyster Little Bourke, or simply Oyster, serves freshly shucked Australian oysters with the finest of ingredients. But as its head chef Joseph Vargetto (formerly Crown Casino's executive sous chef) and partners restaurateur Frank Wilden (The Venetian) and Luke Stringer (Circa, The Prince) confess, there's more to the live crayfish, scallops and oysters floating around in their tank.
Meat-lovers are fully catered for with five selections of steaks including Tenderloin, Sirloin and Scotch Fillet (all $37), as well as Rib Eye on the bone ($39), and Wagayu Sirloin ($95) - with the latter feeding a steak connoisseur its finest 200 grams of grade 9 massaged beef, Japanese-style.
But back to the oysters, as this was the reason that drew me to dine at this European establishment. For all the oyster-lovers out there, head down to Oyster between 5pm and 6.30pm weeknights for 50% off all oysters during their 90-minute long 'Oyster Hour.' And don't feel a tiny bit embarrassed if all you do is order oysters, as this fine-dining, white tablecloth restaurant will still greet you the same and seat you at the marble bar, as if you were seated for full dinner service.
Old Hollywood music and candle-lit bench tops provide the perfect setting to devour oysters, whether celebrating the end of a workday or commencing a relaxing evening. While deciding whether to up your iron and zinc intakes by ordering a selection of half a dozen or dozen combinations, Oyster's wine list makes for an impressive perusal, boasting myriads of varieties from Australia and Europe by the glass or bottle.
Instead of choosing oysters au naturale, I opted for two of the cooked varieties: Cheese Gratin ($22 half/$39 dozen) and Espanola ($22 half/$41 dozen). Presented in a round metal dish with sea salt as a base, each oyster was delicately decorated. The Espanola was infused with olive oil and covered with finely chopped tomatoes, herbs and mini capers, which were best garnished with black pepper and ground flavoured sea salt served on the side. Although a messy experience with the oil overflowing as I tried to detach the oyster from its shell, the Espanola represented a little taste of Spain. The cheese gratin was literally to die for as its secret mix of cheesy sauces created a melt-in-the-mouth experience.
Once again, I am still left wondering why I had to detach the oysters myself when a flick of a knife could have done the job in the kitchen, but at 50% off my favourite little friends teamed with impeccable service, my Oyster experience left me smiling.
Review by Monica
Oyster Hour 5pm-6.30pm weekdays
Open: Monday-Friday midday-late, Saturday ŕ la carte from 5pm, Function bookings also available
Wine: fully licensed
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ 35 Little Bourke Street Melbourne | Map
✆ +61 3 9650 0988
❊ Web Links ❊
→ Oyster Little Bourke
→ Review by Monica
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