Oyster Kitchen, as you may have deduced from its name, is a new hot spot in town for all things oyster. But for diners who feel squeamish at the very thought of the famous mollusc, fear not for there are other options on offer.
The restaurant is not spacious yet can squeeze in 60 people. Even so, the owner tries to ensure each table has privacy, leading to tiny tables for two with scarcely enough room for three dishes — ensuring every meal is an intimate affair.
Cramped conditions aside, black and white stripped floor, live jazz and dim light create a cozy ambience with a modern touch. Tables by the windows with a view of the plane tree lined street are most popular.
Twenty different oysters are served daily, freshly delivered by air from France, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland.
Two favorites with oyster fans come from France, much-prized due to their low yield and distinctive flavor.
Tarbouriech, known as “pink diamond” due to its rose-tinted shell, has a fleshy texture, a balance of sweet and salty and a subtle aroma of hazelnut.
Belon features a redolent of zinc and umami, either hated or loved by guests. Varieties slightly change according to their daily sourcing.
For a wider experience try the oyster platter — 13 oysters from four varieties.
The drinks menu, with long list of white wines highlighted by sharp and mineral Chablis and fruity Sauvignon Blanc from the New World, perfectly complement the oysters.
Non-oyster options — Mediterranean and French-style dishes — include by pasta, risotto and seafood stew. Executive chef Eddie Cao, with 15 years experience in Italian and French food, is skilled in creating a good balance between authenticity and adaptations to cater for the local palate.
For example, he adds cheese and cream into his risotto nero to make the flavor sweeter and softer to satisfy locals. And he prefers serving steak with mashed purple taro — a vegetable popular in China — to soften the meat flavor.
The menu changes seasonally according to ingredients sourcing, except some classic dishes offered regularly.
One highlight is fried scallops with cauliflower mash. Precise heat control ensures the meat outside is crispy, while inside has a firm, bouncy texture.
The scallops are topped with black truffle sauce so that each bite has layers of flavor. Delicate cauliflower balances the fatty scallop.
Diners seeking a visual treat are recommended to try the pumpkin risotto topped with lamb — with beautiful golden and pink hues.
The risotto tastes creamy and slightly sweet, complemented by thinly sliced, crispy lamb.
Meat lovers can try the roast chicken and lamb steak. The lamb steak is topped with blackberry vinegar.
“We only use tender meat and marinate it in spices for three hours. Before putting it into the oven, the skin is covered with butter and wasabi to give a crispy texture and rich aroma,” says chef Cao.
The garlic fries are also yummy — even better if accompanied by a beer.
Desserts are also highlights, especially the smooth and deep chocolate mousse — a layer of black chocolate alternated with a layer of white chocolate.