A big, fat, juicy oyster is probably the last thing you would expect to drop into your shot glass on a busy Friday night, but in a city like Hong Kong, anything goes.
So when sister trio, and owners of The Woods cocktail bar, Victoria, Juliette and Regina
Chow decided it was high time we had a chic little oyster bar on the hip-end of Staunton Street, their nautical dream became a reality in the form of The Walrus.
The quirky venue takes its whimsical name from Lewis Carroll’s trippy poem, "The Walrus
and The Carpenter" in Alice in Wonderland,
and I'm told that chugging an Oyster Shooter (complete with sake, shiso, and caviar) is the best way to kick-start your evening there.
If you're anything like me, or Alice, and haven't really dabbled in the mollusk world before, it's a pretty good place to start exploring like the walrus himself by luring some tasty oysters onto your plate. And with a menu that boasts an impressive range of flavours, with equally impressive names, you'll feel more like Alice in Oysterland.
Where else could you find Lady Gaga, Oompa Loompa, and That 70's Shell making a guest appearance in the raw section? Or Hail Caesar, Miso Hot, and U-N-I (not quite as cute) feature on the cooked list?
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Oompa Loompa "doompadee doo"[/caption]
Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer more of a savoury taste, there are enough ingredients to satisfy all taste buds, from homemade blood orange sorbe, edible pansy flowers, and umeshu plum wine, through to miso sauce, caesar dressing, and chili strands for those looking for that extra oomph. There's even a veggie option (the Copy Cat) which mimics the flavour of oysters by using fresh avocado, dragon fruit and a curious 'oyster leaf'. (I have no idea how this works, but it does!)
As a chocolate lover, I cannot fail to mention the ultimate sweet treat, Sweet Deception, a heavenly, thick, white chocolate oyster shell (molded from a real one), filled with sea salt caramel ice cream, chocolate crumble, and caviar. You must leave room for this!
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Sweet Deception never tasted so good![/caption]
Shelling out $48 an oyster may seem a little steep, considering you could munch your way through a more substantial Walrus Po'Boy (a brioche sub with fried oysters and seasonal house pickles) for $88, or even a plate of crunchy fried Mini Crabs for $90, but seeing as these little guys have traveled halfway across the world to get to your plate (namely from Australia and France), it seems a fair price to pay.
Then there's the novelty factor of sitting in what feels like a rustic, old fishing boat on the vast open sea, where wooden planks line the floor, rope lighting pendants hang from the ceiling, and a stainless steel porthole from an actual ship sits fixed on the wall. The nautical illusion is made all the more authentic by the view of oysters being shucked to order through the large porthole window of the gallery kitchen.
Nip into the seashell mosaic-lined bathroom, and you may even be treated to a recital of the wacky walrus poem itself! But be careful not to "Ring the Bell", or you'll be buying Oyster Shooters for the whole bar!
Whether the whole 'oyster with a shot' idea sails to success or sinks faster the Titanic is unknown, but in the meantime, it sure beats a night of pints and Pork Scratchings.
Just be sure to get in there quick because with no reservation option, and seating for only 18 crew on any given night, there ain't enough room on board for all of us.
If you do manage to grab a table, however, you're certainly in for a shucking good time!
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