Sunday, March 2, 2014

MANILA BULLETIN - Oysters Galore at Circles Cafe

by Heidi Ng
October 9, 2013 (updated) 



Oysters done in different ways are available at Circles every Monday evening.
Oysters done in different ways are available
at Circles every Monday evening.
Oysters from France and other parts of Europe are flown in fresh every week for Oyster Mondays at Circles Event Cafe.
Oysters from France and other parts of Europe are flown in fresh every week for Oyster Mondays at Circles Event Cafe.
I have loved oysters since I was young. I did not have to acquire a taste for it at all. The first time I had it, I was hooked.
My family loved going to the Rotisserie at the old Manila Pavilion hotel at UN Avenue. It was a dark room with leather chairs, hanging wooden lamps, and luxurious fittings. The Rotisserie had the best cream of Agnes Sorrel Soup, fresh Caesar Salad made in front of our table, fantastic Oysters Rockefeller, and the juiciest Prime Rib.
This is where I developed my life-long affair with oysters.
Oysters are fantastic food. Jonathan Swift, the famous writer, was quoted as having said, “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.” The succulent oysters are only 110 kilocalories per dozen, and contains a surprisingly good amount of nutrients like selenium, iron, calcium, zinc,vitamin A and vitamin B12, which I am deficient of, thus my perennially chapped lips.
My favorite varieties are Shigoku, Zen, and Kumamoto oysters. I seem to have an affinity with Japanese named oysters. I also like the Kusshi, small oysters which are easiest to shuck. They have the intense flavor of umami that is compounded with a sweet taste, and a lingering after taste.
There are three things that excite me when I read menus in a restaurant— oysters, foie gras, and carpaccio. And I am glad that at the Makati Shangri-la’s venerable Circles restaurant, I can get two out of three of my favorite foods. In fact, Mondays are oysters galore days at the Shangri-La as they offer fresh oysters flown in from all over the world, more notably, France. I miss the Roxas oysters though, because I personally think they are good, and tasty. But at Circles, the oysters part of the menu are all imported. They serve it raw, with choices of cocktail sauce, red wine vinegar, a slice of lemon wedge or a dash of Tabasco. They can also bake it, steam it, grill it any way you want it. I personally like it with a lot of baked cheese and spinach. I love raw oysters but news of it not being the best way to eat them have made me more careful because of fear of foodborne illnesses. This is why having oysters at clean and safe restaurants is a must. Circles, to me, is a safe bet to have my eat-all-you-can fill of the mollusk, and I think you will agree.
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