A revisit to Merchant’s Oyster Bar for an overdue get-together with DK. Both DK and I were craving for oysters, which made Merchant’s a no-brainer thought since it was just in the middle of both of us.
We both ordered all of their Diggers, which essentially is a Caesar. They have different takes on it, making each just slightly different but equally enjoyable. I personally think the Dill Vodka Digger, which was made with house infused dill vodka, spiced ‘digger’ mix & house clamato, and the Gin Digger, with gin, cucumber, basil, house clamato & spiced ‘digger’ mix were my favourite.
Fresh Oysters On The Half Shell; served with lemon, freshly grated horseradish & rhubarb & celery mignonette
Since our purpose here were the oysters, of course we had to start off with a dozen of them. Size Kusshis and size of their happy hour specials, which I believe were Beach Gems. I could be wrong about the name, but nonetheless, they were all plump and juicy. Adding a dash of their addicting mignonette and Tabasco, heaven.
Baked Oysters; lemongrass coconut cream, kimchi, tempura crumbs
DK decided to try the Set Menus, choosing the All Four Courses option, which lets you choose an item from the snack, first & second course, and dessert section on the menu. Some items would require an additional dollar or two, but overall if you’re planning on ordering all these items anyways, it is a better deal saving you a few dollars. The Baked Oysters sounded interesting on the menu, but was a disappointment in your mouth. The taste of kimchi overpowered the cream and the oysters, the tempura crumbs were not as crispy as imagined resulting in a very mushy dish.
Charcuterie Board; house made & locally sourced charcuterie, dijon, pickles & bread
This was a side order, and of course from my persistence, the slightly more expensive option was ordered because it included the Chicken Liver Pâté. The Pâté was rich and smooth, easily spreadable like butter on the bread. There was also three types of salami, one fennel, spicy, and a mystery one. The deep crimson meat hiding under the bread was smoked duck.
Here’s a better picture of the duck. It was delicious, I have never had smoked duck before, at least not in a cured-charcuterie way. It had deep flavours, with a slick of oil surrounding the slices allowing them to melt slowly into your mouth.
Steak Tartare; fermented hot sauce, cornichons, pickled shallots & house mustard
Let me apologize for the blurry picture first. DK selected this from the first course, it was served on bread with a small side salad. The flavours of the tartare was wonderful, it wasn’t too spicy. The texture of the beef was exquisit, it worked great with the contrasting combination of the minced cornichons and picked shallots. My only complaint was that I wished they had toasted the bread, it would have held the dish up properly instead of it falling allover the place with each bite, and added on another dimension of textures and smokiness.
Roasted Pork Belly; with radish & parsnip purée
The Pork Belly was perfection, like a huge slab of bacon, with each bite proportioned just right with fat and meat. The radish I didn’t feel much for, but the purée was creamy and helped with cutting the fatty taste with its sweet nuttiness.
House Fruit Dessert
The Dessert selection only had a House Chocolate or Fruit Dessert to choose from, or cheese. Seeing how we’ve already over indulged on fatty foods, DK went with the fruitier choice. It was just as our server described it, melted ice cream soup. It was interesting and confusing at the same time, bringing back childhood memories of playing with your ice cream until it melted into a puddle of goo. It had some French name to it, very creamy and fruity, with the actual berries adding the perfect touch of tartness.
Another wonderful night at Merchant’s, never any complaints.