By day, F&B hotspot Customs House Pavillion is a stark contrast to its surrounding neighbours, the bustling office buildings in the Central Business District. But as the sun sets and the waters of Marina Bay takes on a more alluring glow, Customs House comes alive, and at the heart of it, Oyster Bar takes prime spot with its standalone glass house right by the Marina Bay waterfront.
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What is it: Yes, Oyster Bar serves oysters, but more than just offering fresh molluscs, it's also a place for salmon, caviar and of course, Champagne. By sunset, the space is filled with yuppies and expatriates delicately slurping fresh oysters and munching on canapes. A small selection of pastas and burgers is available for those craving for something a little more substantial.
The look: There's really only one word to describe the space of Oyster Bar: tiny. But the owners have made full use of the light-flooded space, which contains an open concept kitchen, bar and just enough seats to keep things convivial instead of claustrophobic. Otherwise, bring your flutes of Champagne outside to the al fresco areas.
Must-try: Oyster Bar does not have freezers in its kitchen, and hence do not freeze any of its produce. Before you balk at the thought, it just means that the produce acquired are imported, and served on the very same day to ensure its quality and freshness. Oysters originate from various places depending on the season, but they are mainly imported from France, New Zealand, Iceland and Canada, and are served freshly shucked, grilled, oven-baked or marinated in shooters depending on your preference.
Like how the purists enjoy it, we had our oysters freshly shucked (from S$18 for a pair) and served still alive in their half-shells and without the ubiquitous lemon juice (lemon juice apparently "blunts your palate" which adulerates the taste of the oyster). As expected, the flesh is plump, succulent with a clean, pristine taste of the ocean, and slides down with a sweet aftertaste. There's no doubting its freshness at all.
Tiny squares of wagyu beef and salmon toast (S$39 each) are fun bites with generous amounts of wagyu beef shreds and caramelized onions and smoked salmon slices with roe atop of toasted bread, but those who are looking for their carb and protein fill of the day will be delighted with the newly-introduced mini burger champers (S$88++ with half a bottle of Delamotte) served every Tuesday.
With wagyu beef patties, stacked with Australian bacon, French oyster or foie gras wrapped in melted Emmetal cheese, topped with homemade sundried tomatoes, and served with truffle tartare, Bourbon and blue cheese sauce, these mini burgers are the very personification of sin on a plate. However, while they are no doubt delicious, the beef patties are a tad too dry, veering almost on the powdery side. A pity, since concept-wise, it's an excellent idea.
Also look out for: To complement its food, Oyster Bar also stocks an extensive collection of the finest Champagnes including Ruinart, J.De Telmont, Comtes de Champagne, Dom Perignon, Salon, Cristal and Krug, and a menu of cocktails made by in-house mixologist Naz.
Verdict: With a sleek, almost too cool for school menu and a tres chic concept and decor, it's not hard to see why Oyster Bar has become one of the favourite hangout spots of bankers and lawyers with big expense accounts from the surrounding offices. Definitely explains the slightly higher prices too. Come dressed to impress -- this is not your typical after-hours chillout bar.
Oyster Bar, 70 Collyer Quay, #01-01 Customs House, +65 6534 5534