Friday, February 29, 2008

February 29, 2008: Oyster Little Bourke

Update 31/12/2014: Oyster Little Bourke was rejigged into a new restaurant Mezzo Bar & Grill in 2010.

Thanks to Jo-Lyn's enthusiasm, this year we took advantage of the Food & Wine Festival's Restaurant Express. For the duration of the festival, many of the city's top restaurants offer a two-course lunch with a glass of wine for only $30 per person! I was most pleased to read on the website that every one of these set menus would include a vegetarian option. This promise was backed up by Oyster's staff when Jo-Lyn phoned to make our reservation there. Melbourne Foodie Jon! thoroughly enjoyed the more carnivorous end of Oyster's set menu earlier in the week so we entered with some anticipation.

When Michael, Jo-Lyn, Mike and I arrived at our table the day's lunch special options were already printed and set out for our perusal. All of the entrees and mains involved meat but, as he placed our napkins on our laps with a flourish, the front-of-house manager assured us that there was a vegetarian risotto available to us, incorporating gorgonzola and caramelised almonds - yummo! I had seen the "gorgonzola dolce risotto, caramelized almonds, grape vincotto" on their online a la carte menu and was looking forward to it.

However, the waiter who took our order was less confident. When Michael requested the vegetarian option he responded, "So that's the fish, then?" Uh, no. Michael wanted the vegetarian risotto, and so did I. And this is what we got...

It was filling, and it was quite tasty. But there was no gorgonzola or caramelised almond about it, so we were both a bit disappointed. On the other side of the table, Jo-Lyn was relishing her gnocchi with some kind of meat ragout and fish-skeptic Mike was impressed by the piscean option.

Next up was dessert for Mike, Michael and I. However, Jo-Lyn had ordered an entree and a main for her two courses and it was strange to see her digging into an enormous pork chop while the two Michaels were presented with their cute little copper pots of tiramisu. This dessert was the highlight of the meal, one of the best renditions I've tasted.

I had the trio of sorbets - chocolate, vanilla and raspberry. They were... just good, y'know? On a par with what I'd buy from a gelateria on Lygon St.

It was great to experience one of Melbourne's swankier restaurants at a budget price, but it should come as little surprise that a restaurant named Oyster has an inconsistent ability to cater to vegetarians. While the tiramisu was memorable, I don't think I'll be pulling my wallet out for the full a la carte treatment any time soon.

Address: 35 Little Bourke St, Melbourne CBD
Ph: 9650 0988
Fully licensed
Price: lunchtime festival special $30


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  2. Sad to see you didn't enjoy Oyster as much as I did. Not very nice to jib you with the risotto - I'm sure the real version would have been great.

    Enjoy your trip :)

    Happy eating,

  3. No to worry, Jon! The tiramisu was their saving grace. :-)