Interview & photos by Fatema Sitabkhan
With thanks to the team at ADL Collective for the interview opportunity
While I was initially on the fence about trying seafood, it wasn’t till a couple of years ago where I finally delved into appreciating the art of this delicious and exquisite selection of food. Living in a country like Australia, where there is a beautiful selection of oysters, prawns, and other forms of seafood, I was delighted to be invited to check out The Oyster Bar in Holdfast Shores.
Having only visited this space a couple of months back for some after-work drinks, I was pleased to learn more about this business and try out some of their items from the menu. I was particularly surprised to learn of the many different ways in which oysters can be enjoyed – “smoked, boiled, baked, fried, roasted, stewed, canned, pickled, steamed, broiled (grilled)”.
But what was even more enticing was that The Oyster Bar specializes not only in their fine selection of oysters (which are all locally sourced), but also provide a myriad of other seafood and non-seafood options, such as a cheese and dips plate, duck spring rolls, and even a chorizo plate!
With a celebrated team behind the Oyster Bar – Holdfast Shores space, there is:
- Owners Kirsty and Jarrad Carter
- Venue Manager Chris Polesso
- Kitchen Manager Kat Badcock
- Social Media Coordinator Erica Badcock
- Event and Marketing Coordinator Nikki Turner
I was fortunate enough to be able to score an e-interview with venue manager Chris – have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Who are the faces behind Oyster Bar – Holdfast Shores?
Chris: The team behind the Oyster Bar Holdfast Shores space would be myself behind the bar, that first smiling face when you walk through the door, and Kat our Kitchen Manager. Even though Kat is more behind the scenes in the kitchen, she really shines with the food she produces in her amazing monthly specials.
Tema: What is it about the Oyster Bar that you’d like prospective + current customers to know about?
Chris: We maintain a strong focus on producing great quality food from a mixture of both local and imported goods. We are also deeply passionate about our local oysters and that our drinks menu showcases some of the best beer and wine from South Australia as well as from Australia as a whole.
Tema: What would you like your customers to experience through a visit to the Oyster Bar?
Chris: We want our customers to leave us feeling happy and fulfilled knowing that they have indulged in some of the best seafood and wine that South Australia has to offer.
Tema: With winter around the corner, what do you hope will draw customers towards visiting Glenelg and the Marina Pier area?
Chris: We hope that the cold doesn’t scare too many people away, but we are hoping the Marina Pier can offer some kind of incentive; such as free parking, to entice customers to the area. We are lucky that we have pull-down blinds and amazing heating in our outdoor areas, so our customers can enjoy the lovely marina views, even on the cold and windy nights!
Tema: Let’s talk about who’s responsible for cooking these beautiful dishes you have on offer – can you give me some background into the chefs and cooks, please? How do they find inspiration to add their own individualistic / original spin to the traditional seafood dishes you have on offer?
Chris: Kat the Kitchen Manager and our kitchen team are responsible for all of the dishes we have on offer here at the Oyster Bar. While all of our cooks bring their own individuality to the way they operate in the kitchen and how their food is presented, they all follow Kat’s lead. She is the core of the kitchen team and her creativity and passion is on show through her creative and delicious specials, which change from month to month, so there’s always something new and exciting to look forward to!
Tema: Where do you source your juicy oysters from and do you source them every day?
Chris: Here at the Holdfast Shores venue, you could say are a little biased! We source our Oysters locally from Coffin Bay. Though some may feel differently, we really do think they are the best that Australia has to offer and the biggest plus – they’re delivered fresh everyday!
Tema: Do you primarily serve oysters or are there other options on the menu?
Chris: Oysters are our main fare, but we have 15 other menu items, along with monthly specials that bring a mix of seafood and non-seafood options.
Tema: Does your menu cater to different dietary requirements (gluten-free / vegetarian / vegan)?
Chris: Yes! We try to cater to dietary requirements where we can and aim to have a dish for everyone.
Tema: What is your most recommended dish?
Chris: For Oyster Lover’s, you cannot go past the ‘Oyster Errol Flynn’. This is where you can mix your choice of 3 or 4 different styles in a dozen. For those that would rather stick to our ‘Temptations’ Menu, the Salt and Pepper Squid or Grazing plate would be our first choice.
Tema: What is your most popular dish?
Chris: A relatively young dish – the ‘Seafood Plate’. It became a staple on our menu late last year and has been our best seller ever since. Coffin Bay Oysters, Salt and Pepper Squid, Smoked Atlantic Salmon and SA Whole King Prawns, it’s perfect for a couple or group to share over a bottle of wine.
Tema: Can you give me a bit more information about your Wednesday menu – what does it include?
Chris: Discount Wednesdays! So every Wednesday (from Open to Close), our full Oyster menu is available at a discounted price.
Tema: What would you say to someone who’s never tried oysters before, but is curious to do so?
Chris: If you’re wary, start with our signature cooked oyster, the ‘Darleyfella’. An oyster topped with a house made Mornay mix, then grilled. spinach, cheese and spices match with the oyster perfectly.
If you want to dive right in and start with a natural go with the ‘Oliver’, which has shallots that are marinated in White and Red Wine vinaigrette. The saltiness of the oyster married with the sweet and sour vinaigrette really leaves a tingle on your palette.
Tema: What are some upcoming events that you’d like to bring focus towards?
Chris: We are the official oyster vendor for Bonjour Barossa on July 8th this year at Seppeltsfield Winery. We will be offering our fresh and delicious oysters in various styles and pairing them with some bubbles in a Champagne Masterclass.
Tema: Do you offer your space for hire for events? If so, what kind of events would you cater to?
Chris: We do offer our space for event hire! Having a smaller area to work with makes our function spaces feel personal and intimate, while still giving the feel of the hustle and bustle of a popular night spot. We cater for all kinds of events – from birthday parties to engagements and just about everything in between.
Tema: Talking about the selection of drinks – what are some notable ones that you’d like to highlight as being part of the bar stock?
Chris: We have a strong focus on local wines and beers and we source them from all the best regions in South Australia. Our wines are an eclectic mix of some of the best from McLaren Vale, The Barossa Valley and The Clare Valley, in addition to gems from the rest of South Australia.
At the moment, we are really trying to highlight some of the great craft beer that is being produced in South Australia, particularly through our new specials night ‘Crafty Thursdays’. We believe we have some of the greatest beers produced locally from the teams at Barossa Valley Brewing, Clare Valley Brewing Company, Mismatch Brewing Company and Pikes Beer Company and we want to share them with the world.
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like our readers and your customers to know about the Oyster Bar – Holdfast Shores?
Chris: The main thing is to come and give us a shot, we are much more than just oysters and there is definitely something for everyone here at the Oyster Bar Holdfast Shores!
Shop 10, Marina Pier, Glenelg SA 5045
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