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It really pisses me off that more restaurants don’t open their own oysters. I mean, think about it, we have some of the best oysters in the world, grown in some of the cleanest waters in the world, and all in close proximity to our city restaurants. So, why do so many restaurants buy opened oysters and leave them languishing in the fridge for days before they are sold. Worse yet, when they are almost off, they delegate them to cooked oysters, especially Kilpatrick. To be fair there are some restaurants in this city that sell so many oysters they get a daily delivery of just shucked oysters, what is not sold on the day of opening is moved on the following day in cooked oyster dishes. A very acceptable practice, but sadly quite a rare one and unfortunately most commercial oyster shuckers wash their oysters in tap water! Naughty!
Chefs hate Kilpatrick oysters and the general public love them, love them to the point that in the oysters season and well after we have stopped eating oysters deeming them out of season, the recipe for oysters Kilpatrick stays high in the top 10 downloaded recipes on my site! I love them too but the very great difference is that when we make Kilpatrick the oysters have been opened at the very most for 24 hours not several days. Eating oysters in a restaurant is similar to eating fish in a restaurant, there has to be a bond of trust between restaurant and diner; fresh is meant to be fresh. The worst insult to the oyster lover is the nasty habit of washing oysters in Adelaide tap water, a practice, unfortunately common to chefs and commercial shuckers. There is no better to ruin an oyster. Often when we have oysters at home a guest will pronounce that they don’t eat raw oysters. It generally means their first taste of a raw oyster was either in a restaurant of ill repute, but most likely between December and February when they are at their spawning worst. There is no comparison between the sweet salty clean cold taste of a just shucked perfect oyster and the nasty bitter metallic taste of the spawning season. In Europe diners do not expect to see and oyster in the off season, but in Australia the change of flavour due to the change of season barely dents their sales mainly, we suspect because oysters Kilpatrick masque the flavour.
In 98 when we first served oysters natural with a slither of a lime segment and Tobiko wasabi flying fish roe it was a revolution in an oyster taste and one that we have never tired off. The tiny palate pricking spicy wasabi flavoured roe, the fresh cut lime and oyster is a sublime combination and one that we often serve. Our favourite remains natural with finely chopped shallots and fresh strained lemon juice or quality red wine vinegar laced with plenty of pepper.

left the Ramona–Miller–Marco Pierre White, Sichuan noodles with oysters natural and right oysters natural with spicy flying fish roe and lime

There is a lot of argument about which oyster knife is best but I prefer the long bladed Dexter–Rusell and keep it super sharp. A mesh glove is about $150 but gives the best safety factor. You can use a thick glove and that is what most professional shuckers use, however they have skills the rest of us rarely gain and a nasty gash in my left hand was sufficient to convince me that shucking oysters without some sort of protection is an accident waiting to happen. A small block of wood with a hollowed out side or a thick piece of sponge, with hold the oyster level and stop it from losing its liquor by being held at an angle whilst shucking.

Ann Oliver June 2010

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The movie shows the common commercial way of shucking oysters in Australi. It is not the way we recommend opening an oyster. Enter the blade from the side, twist and slide the knife backwards, pressing against the top shell to avoid cutting through the oyster. Hold very level so as not to lose the oyster liquor and remove the top. Cut the muscle, turn the oyster over in the shell and sit the oyster level on a bed of rock salt.

the people behind Galaxy Guidesfood editor and publisher
Ann Oliver

champagne editor
Kaaren Palmer


Jan Bowman
Political comentator, briliant photographer…farmers’s market obsessed…Brisbane based.

Olivia Stratton Makris
Masters of Gastronomy, NYC, Spain and constant assistance and editorial suggestion…Adelaide based.

Michael Martin…Northern America 2016.Photographic assistance Kym Martin…Adelaide based.

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copyright © text, recipes and images Ann Oliver & Kaaren Palmer 2016.