Get your oysters while their fresh – and in season!
It’s official. Oyster season has arrived and so it is the perfect time to conquer your fear – if you have any. Customarily, the ‘r’ rule dictated that oysters should only be eaten in months with the letter ‘r’ in them which strengthened the belief that oyster season started in September and ended in April, but in actual fact, excellent oysters are available all year round in Ireland with native oysters coming of age at this time of year. Regardless, anything ‘seasonal’ has got to be good so make haste and all that…and remember to chew.
Moran’s Oyster Cottage, Co Galway
The clue is in the name at Moran’s Oyster Cottage in Kilcolgan, Co Galway, so it’s safe to say that they know what they are doing. Moran’s is home to Clarenbridge Oysters which come from a 700 acre oyster bed, of both fresh and sea water at the mouth of the Dunkellin and Clarenbridge rivers in Galway. Enjoy them naked, grilled with garlic breadcrumbs or thermidor style. www.moransoystercottage.com
The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin 2
Every September, No. 27, The Shelbourne Bar celebrates oyster season with a selection of daily specials that showcases the very best of these Irish saline snacks. This September, the selection will feature Dungarvan oysters, Flaggy Shore oysters, Carlingford oysters and Galway oysters. Enjoy oysters with a classic mignonette dressing, or ponzu oysters with chilli and spring onion. Optional extravagant extras include adding pearl imperial caviar, or if you prefer your oysters cooked, try the classic oysters ‘rockerfella’. The drinks pairing menu includes creamy Guinness, crisp white wines, and of course, classic Champagnes. www.theshelbourne.com
Hawksmoor, Dublin 2
Hawksmoor’s Dublin outpost is celebrating the season with ‘Oyster Hour’ Monday to Friday from 5-7pm throughout September. Visitors to the bar can enjoy half price oysters served with a selection of very moreish accoutrements on the side (I’m looking at you Scotch bonnet mignonette). A perfectly paired Martini from a specially created menu will set you back €12 instead of the usual €14. www.hawksmoor.ie
Sole, Dublin 2
One of the original snazzy Dublin oyster bars, the bar counter at Sole is a beautiful space and an afternoon spent perched on a high stool, sipping something cold and fizzy while working your way through a half dozen oysters is an afternoon well spent. Choose from a range of oyster varieties or try one of each with raspberry and shallot vinaigrette and lemon and tabasco on the side. The selection of oysters changes daily and the wine list has plenty of pairing options. Go with friends or go solo. Either way, it’s a treat. www.sole.ie
Mourne Seafood Bar, Belfast and Dundrum
With a cookery school, an online fish shop and four restaurants in the stable, Mourne Seafood Bar has an impressive pedigree. The Belfast outpost is located on Bank Street and it’s a busy spot with both local and international visitors enjoying fresh shellfish carefully hand-selected from the independent shellfish beds. Oysters come by the half dozen, served either naturally, with lemon and tabasco, with shallot and sherry vinegar mignonette, or Japanese style with soy, pickled ginger and cucumber. www.mourneseafood.com