Ode to oysters
A delicious oyster experience awaits at Victoria Station throughout this month.
SCIENTIFIC proof that oyster boosts the libido may be a little thin on the ground, but most people still think eating oysters is “sexy”.
The shellfish’s reputation as an aphrodisiac probably stemmed from the popular belief that Casanova consumed up to 50 oysters a day, and that King Henry IV could toss back as many as 300 in one sitting!
In his book The Big Oyster, food writer Mark Kurlansky noted that early Dutch settlers who arrived in New York in the 1600s found such an abundance of oysters (some measuring up to a foot or more) in the Hudson River estuary that the molluscs became the city’s most celebrated export, not to mention a staple food for both the poor and the wealthy, as well as tourists, until the early 1900s.
Throughout this month of September, fresh American oysters – none anywhere near a foot long, though – can now be savoured at Victoria Station restaurants.
According to media manager Vivienne Low, their chefs have created four new dishes in addition to the two evergreen mainstays for this promotion in order to tempt oyster lovers.
“Aside from the perennial British-American preparations of Fresh Rock Oysters and classic Baked Rock Oysters, our chefs have scoured different parts of the world for fresh inspirations this year.
“Diners will also enjoy far greater value for their money during this promotional period with half a dozen fresh oysters priced at RM21.90++ instead of the usual RM36.90++, and baked varieties at RM23.90++ per half dozen instead of RM38.90++,” Low says.
Of course, purists will insist that the natural taste of shucked Fresh Rock Oysters served on the half-shell is incomparable. You either love or loathe the mollusc’s sensuous, slippery smooth texture and oceanic saltiness as it slides down the throat. All it needs is just a dash of fresh lemon juice, but some also like it with a dash of Tabasco sauce or Victoria Station’s house cocktail sauce.
Did you know that oysters are low in calories?
One dozen raw oysters contain approximately 110 calories. They are also a great source of vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), C and D, and minerals like calcium, iodine, iron, potassium and copper, not to mention the all-important omega-3 fatty acids.
Low reveals that Baked Rock Oysters are their perennial best-seller; so much so, in fact, that the chefs are not permitted to mess with the white sauce, smoked chicken and cheddar cheese topping that goes with them. The creamy and smoky layer helps to seal in the oyster’s flavour and juicy tenderness during baking.
The Japanese-inspired Kaki Furai offers a different mouth-feel altogether, with each oyster coated in breadcrumbs and fried to crispy, toffee-hued perfection. Hot and succulent, the delectable morsels taste superb with or without the house cocktail sauce.
Local palates partial to stronger, more robust flavours will find the Oysters Mexicana V.2.0 to be just their cup of tea.
“This is an improved version from last year’s recipe,” Low informs us. “We’ve tweaked the salsa’s piquancy to ensure its zesty spiciness complement the oyster’s richness without affecting its delicate nuance. It’s topped with a little melted cheddar cheese to keep it moist.”
From southern Italy comes Ostriche Arracanate – a distinctive preparation where the plump, fleshy molluscs are baked with a little olive oil, some chopped parsley and coarse breadcrumbs.
What makes it so outstanding is the unexpected briny tinge that comes from the addition of salt-cured anchovies in minute measure.
Created in honour of cartoon character Popeye’s love for spinach, the Popeye’s Rock Oysters is baked oysters with wilted spinach in white sauce and melted cheddar cheese.
Since the greens provide a nice wholesome touch to this indulgent dish, nobody would have any qualms devouring it.
Now chug along to Victoria Station and make oysters part of your world this September.