Bivalve Bacchanalia

Hands up who wants more oysters! 

By S Haslam

The Bacchanalia were the apparently well-organised festivals held in honour of the god Bacchus, the Greco-Roman god of wine, freedom, intoxication and ecstasy. If your ecstasy levels are a bit low after Splendour, or you feel that pairing wine and oysters is a much more practical means of ecstatic communication with the divine, then The Balcony Bay & Oyster Co have annual ‘oyster festivals’ that are just for you.

In the month named after the Roman emperor Augustus (August), The Balcony says their executive chef Sean Connolly will be shucking up a storm with an array of activities, unique menu items and cocktails designed specifically for oyster lovers, celebrating the simple pleasures of freshly shucked oysters. Sean Connolly apparently favours natural oysters with just a splash of lemon and vinaigrette, or even better a dash of his hot sauce.

This year’s menu will feature a premium ‘dressed oyster’ selection including a Brookie’s Gin & Tonic granita, Sean’s Spicy Bloody Mary dressing, Cab Sav & Chardonnay Forvm Vinegars, XO shallot and fermented chili dressing and a Stone & Wood Jasper Ale ‘Captain Barnacle’ reduction dressing. Also on the menu will be oyster sliders, oyster tacos, chowder fries inspired by Sean’s childhood and, for the first time ever, Oyster Rockefellers! (yes, in a ‘rich’ sauce).

For the entire month of August you can enjoy $1 oysters from 5pm till 6pm, or win a stay in Byron Bay by guessing the weight of Benny The Bivalve, an enormous oyster from the Clyde River. On Tuesday and Thursday nights by playing ‘pick the pearl’ you could score a dozen dressed oysters for half price. All you have to do is pick the oyster shell that has a pearl in it to win.

For more info or to book a table head to

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