December 9, 2008

Oyster nirvana

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A gathering of Hong Kong foodies took place tonight at Nine.Line Oyster and Grill. There was the publisher of a local restaurant guide, a well-known blogger (and I'm not referring to myself), and a writer for a local weekly. Oysters would be the focus tonight.

Each of us started with a plate of a dozen oysters - 12 different ones. I don't remember ever having this many oysters in one go, and was pretty excited about this. Fortunately we were each given a list to help us identify our favorites. Here are my short notes on them:

Irish Rock (Ireland) - flavors were a bit muted, neither too briney nor creamy.

Namibian (South Africa) - flesh was fatty and creamy, sweet with a touch of brine.

Écaille d'Argent (France) - similar to Irish Rock, but with a better balance and more flavor.

Utah Beach (France) - briney but has some creamy texture. No doubt named after one of the Allied landing spots in Normandie.

Smoky Bay (Australia) - very briny.

Black Pearl (France) - briney with lots of metallic/mineral flavors.

White Pearl (France) - like the Black Pearl, briney and very good.

Franklin Harbour (Australia) - briney, mineral and metallic.

Spéciale Cadoret (France) - produced by the father/son team from Riec-sur-Belon, this was briney with a long finish.

Gillardeau (France) - this was EVERYONE's favorite of the evening. Produced by the family from Bourcefranc. It was briney with a very sweet, grassy finish that was so long it was almost like wine. Awesome!

La Belle de Quiberon (France) - curiously briney without the metallic and mineral flavors.

Belon 0000 (France) - crunchy texture, it was actually acidic and sweet to the taste.

We were having such a good time that we wanted more oysters! I ordered one each of the Utah Beach and Gillardeau. Honestly I wouldn't mind just having a half-dozen of the Gillardeau! I was doing pretty well after the oysters, so I had a bowl of oyster and sea urchin cream soup. That pretty much did it for me, and I shared a bit of the spinach fettucine with seafood to finish off.

There was plenty of alcohol, of course! We started with the 2004 William Fevre Chablis Les Preuses that I brought. Chablis is one of the best matches for oysters, in no small way due to the fact that the sub-soil contains fossilized oyster shells. The wine had a steely, flinty nose with lemon notes. The finish was very long and dry.

We followed with a bottle of daiginjo sake. This was on the sweet side, and worked perfectly well to balance the briney flavors of the oysters in the mouth, almost like a palate cleanser! I must remember this next time.

Then there was the 2004 Didier Dagueneau Silex, with an explosive nose of minerals, green apples and muscat. Steely acidity cuts through the flavors. What a wonderful wine that is giving so much now, without having realized its full potential.

Finally there was the 2005 Domaine de la Mordorée Lirac Cuvée de la Reine des Bois. The violet, floral notes were really nice. It's also a treat to drink something that is produced in reasonably small quantities. 

This was a really enjoyable evening. I look forward to returning for some yummy oysters.

1 comment:

j said...

Oh NICE ... I was looking for something concise on oysters so I don't look like a food next time I am recommended "White Pearl" ... "Umm ... so where is it from?" lol, Cheers

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