You know the owner of a restaurant takes his seafood seriously when there are several pages of the menu devoted entirely to oysters. With Billy Marinelli, owner of the Oyster Bar in a foodie enclave of Chong Nonsi, customers are in good hands. As a seafood wholesaler, Billy has a particularly keen eye for good produce and, as far as his restaurant goes, seems less concerned with turning a profit than with running a place where he likes to eat.
Those oysters have been brought in from all over the world – you’ll find them for B75-B150 each, discounted if you go for a dozen. If you’re overwhelmed by the vast selection, Billy is generally on hand to offer his expert advice.
If you’ve brought your most serious appetite, move on to the seafood platter (B2000 for two or B3500 for four or more), offering a gorgeous pile of oysters, scallop sashimi, bay shrimp, seaweed salad, Dungeness crab, mussels, clams and caviar. The presentation is impressively straightforward, emphasising the produce without the unnecessary bells and whistles. The portions here are generous – and remarkably affordable given the quality – but they’re unlikely to last long once they land on the table as every part of the platter positively glows with that slightly briney goodness.
A string of highlights follow: the seared Alaskan scallops with mango puree and pickled shallots (B450) adds a fruity tang to the soft, subtle flesh that barely needs chewing. The fish of the day will vary but it would be unwise to overlook the wild salmon (B600), served more simply but prepared with an unmistakable sense of what good salmon does in a customer’s mouth.
For some diners, that may be enough but for those prepared to carry on, the rewards are well worth it. The seafood paella (main image, B600 for two) is as good at it gets, rustically presented, steaming with spices and sauce, a mountain of mixed seafood to be ladled out and shared. If that style of communal, hot and hearty dish makes your mouth water, the seafood paella will have you returning several times.
It may be tempting fate to go for dessert but the mango yoghurt (B180) and chocolate fondat (B200) make a smashing finale to one of the most enjoyable meals in Bangkok.
The Oyster Bar
395 Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra 24 | 02-212-4809
theoysterbarbangkok.com| Mon-Sat 6pm-11pm, Sun noon-10pm