Late night munchies and Fatboy and I were craving oysters. After browsing around to see if there were any happy hour specials for oysters, I came across Merchant’s Oyster Bar. They had a happy hour for oysters starting at $1 from 9PM till closing, looking at their menu another thing caught my attention – bone marrow! Still reminecing of the one I had at Flying Pig, we both agreed and decided to give Merchant’s a try even though it was quite a bit of a drive away.
I quickly made a reservation using OpenTable, partially for fear they would be packed, but mainly for the points. The place isn’t too big, with a simple and clean decor. it had candle filled lanterns hanging from ropes by the oyster bar, with the oysters on full display behind just like at Joe Fortes, it seemed to be a one-man-show as there was only one person behind the bar doing the oysters. We were greeted nicely and seated in the corner of the room, being on a Monday night the place seemed pretty lively with a full bar and couple tables scattered around the room.
Charcuterie Board; house made & locally sourced charcuterie, dijon, pickles & bread
We were disappointed when we saw bone marrow crossed off on their chalkboard menu, so we got our usual charcuterie board instead. Boy, did we not regret this decision. Our board consisted of lightly toasted, spiced almonds, pickled carrots, red onion chutney, cornichons, grainy dijon mustard, chicken liver pâté, toasted baguettes & crostinis. For meats there was salami, prosciutto, smoked duck, corned beef and a ham of sorts. Everything on this board made up for my loss of bone marrow. From the creamy pâté to the mustard, all aspects of this dish worked together and was delectable.
Fresh Oysters On The Half Shell; served with lemon, freshly grated horseradish & rhubarb & celery mignonette
Time for the main event, oysters! Merchant’s had 6 oysters on their menu that night, instead of just getting the happy hour one we decided to try one of each to broaden our oyster knowledge and taste buds. It felt kind of cheap for the lemons to be cut into small triangles instead of wedges, we had to ask for more as it was not enough for the amount of oysters we had ordered, it also made things a bit messy. I wish I had remembered the names of the oysters, all I know was that either the first or second pair was kusshis. The oysters were fresh and shucked nicely, what made it better was the mignonette. One of the best I’ve had by far, it had a nice unique taste to it, maybe that had to do with the ingredients as usual mignonettes were made from shallots. It was very refreshing, and brought out the flavours of each oysters nicely.
Organic Beet Salad; roasted red & golden beets with edible flowers & yogurt-dill dressing
I wanted some type of salad as it seemed like a lot of meat for late night, Fatboy went for the beet salad because he had recently established a fondness to them. It came out looking beautifully, like a painting in a museum worth millions. Like that analogy, Fatboy and I both did not know how to appreciate it as it felt a bit pricey for just half a plate of beets, guess that’s organic food for you. To be fair, it was quite a bit of beets compared to other restaurants which would load up on more greens instead, aesthetically it looked pleasing but my wallet felt otherwise. The beets were cooked perfectly, being tender and sweet with a hint of natural dirt flavour, weird I know. I did not feel much for the edible flowers or herbs and the yogurt dressing was interesting.
Last round of oysters for their last call before we call it a night. We went back for their happy hour selection as it was pretty good for its price.
I will definitely come back and maybe even try their sister restaurant, Cork & Fin. I will not rest until I’ve tried their infamous roasted bone marrow!