The Booze Blog - Alcohol, Bars, Malaysia and Beyond.

18 November 2015

Experience: Shucked Oyster Masterclass @ The Gardens, Midvalley


I just recently learnt how to truly enjoy oysters.

I thought being someone who loves eating oysters just meant stuffing my face with (m)any raw oyster at buffets.... and then hoping not to have a stomachache later. But with this masterclass, I realise it's more to it than just being a good value for money item at an all-you-can-eat.

I can't imagine how one simple shelled thing can look, taste and smell so different from the other, but it can! My eyes and taste buds are now suddenly opened to a whole new world -  tasting oysters is very much like tasting whisky, or wine.

Tragheanna Bay, Ireland (RM30*): Very fishy. Irish Premium, Ireland (RM37*): Very pleasant, salty.
Dutch Creuses, Holland (RM37*): Easy, smooth subtle sea taste.

In fact like whisky or wine, everything about its environment can affect an oyster's character - the location, the temperature, the water. Even the tasting process itself is very much like tasting whisky. Let me explain:

1. To properly taste whisky - one shouldn't add any water, ice or mixer into it. To taste oyster, one shouldn't add any condiment to it (lemon or tabasco) and just savour it raw, as it is, brine and all.

2. Before tasting it, you should take a good whiff at it - as both oyster and whisky has its own distinct scent, depending on where they originate from.

Sydney Rock, Australia (Price unavailable): Upfront soft, ends and stays with iodine - it's like an islay whisky!
Jersey Rock, UK (RM46*): Sweet! West Mersea, UK (RM38*): Clean flavour.

3.  Let your whole mouth savour it - your tongue is segmented into different flavour segments. To fully appreciate what you're tasting, you'll need to coat your entire mouth with it.

4. Savour it slowly - not gulp it down. Otherwise, how are you going to know what it really tastes like, right?

5. Like whisky, wine or any other alcohol, there is also a nose, body and finish to oysters. I believe this is the same for every food stuff but today we're talking oyster. :P

Tasmanian Prime, Australia (RM38*): Salty! Coffin Bay, Australia (RM37*): Easy upfront, ends with the sea. Cloudy Bay, NZ (RM45*) - Very creamy & sweet (same place as the wine!).

Rule #1 was broken with me though. This noob can't take a full strength oyster because it's just too much of the sea, so with everything I tasted I had a drop of lemon and tabasco - sorry oysters!

So as I was saying, I learnt to truly enjoy oysters in the form of a Masterclass hosted by Shucked at the recent KL Oyster Festival.  For this session, we were given 12 oysters to try and pair with champagne, stout and cider.

You might like to know that the people behind Shucked (Southern Rock Seafood is theirs too) are responsible for bringing in fresh flown seafood for not only themselves, but for a host of other restaurants and bars too.

Loch Ryan, UK (RM56*): Very meaty texture, the zinc finish HITS you. Gallagher Special, Ireland (RM60*): Most expensive): Juicy sweet with an iodone end. Fin De Claire, France (RM45*): Distinct bronze end, very odd for me.

Like my whisky, I don't like the strong flavoured oysters. My preference is inclined towards the more subtle, sweet ones which aren't fishy or have a very pronounced ending. They would be the Irish Premium, Dutch Creuses, West Mersea, Jersey Rock, Coffin Bay, Cloudy Bay & Gallagher Special.

I find that champagne brings out the metallic taste of the oyster, which I didn't like. Maybe that's the point, and why people always seem to have oyster with champagne, but it's definitely not for me. I actually prefer oysters with Guinness or cider. With the Guinness, it becomes creamier. The cider's acidity helps offset the "fishiness" of the raw oyster. I also like white wine with it which brings out the sweetness of both (which I had on a separate occasion).

Lots of canapes and booze to accompany the lovely fresh oysters.

Now that KL Oyster Festival is done and dusted, Shucked will still hold regular Oyster Masterclasses at RM230 per pax (with free flow wine and beer) or RM160 without the booze.

These upcoming 90 minute sessions will have Josh Green, the resident Oyster expert (and owner of Shucked),  to talk you through your oyster tasting journey featuring 6 oysters, a glass of welcome champagne and lots of seafood canape in between to fill your tummy.

Here is Josh, showing us how shucking is done - it's not easy, you could lose a finger!

They still have available slots for:
Thursday, 19 November, 7:30pm
Thursday, 3 December,  7:30pm
Thursday, 17 Dececember, 7:30pm 

By the way, oyster masterclasses are also available for private booking for special events.

For more or to book: shuckedgarden@gmail.com or SMS 0129177613 (spaces are limited).

Get updated on their activities here:
www.facebook.com/ShuckedOysterBars
www.shuckedoysterbars.com

*quoted prices are for 3 pieces.

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