EATING OUT: Free oyster offer not worth it

Saturday February 9 2019

The oysters we were served were not fresh and didn’t look palatable.

The oysters we were served were not fresh and didn’t look palatable. PHOTO | MADAME CONNOISSEUSE  

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We’re officially in the love season and couples will therefore be flocking to various city outlets to wine, dine and stare longingly into each other’s eyes.

I’ve actually never had a date on Valentine’s Day. Something always comes up, from a break-up to a long distance situation, or me simply meeting someone a few days afterwards. I’ve been on a mission to accept date offers recently so I can break this Valentine’s curse. By my calculations, I might be lucky to, at the very least, have a second date on the 14th.

Whether the relationship lasts after that is neither here nor there. It is with that strategy in mind that I accepted to head out for oysters and champagne at Village Market.

I heard ‘oyster and champagne’ and immediately thought it would be a swanky restaurant with a grand teardrop chandelier made out of real diamonds, a place where the waiters pull out your seat and address you as “ma’am”. I therefore arrived all decked out in heels and a little black dress, only to find that it was set at the food court where people in jeans and sandals were wandering past going about their business, making me feel completely overdressed.

To be fair, it really is a fancy little spot perfect for date night, I just thought it would have more privacy.

I had imagined that the menu would also have different brands of champagne and I had even brushed up my pronunciation of ‘Dom Perignon’, but, alas, we were to have wine. No matter … my date ordered two overpriced glasses of rose at the price it would have cost me to buy an entire bottle of the same. Their prices per bottle would have been enough for up to three bottles at my regular wine shop, but such is the nature of the drinks business, I suppose.

Our wines came with free oysters, which somewhat justified the price. Oysters are said to be an aphrodisiac and I’m tempted to think my date may have secretly set this up. Who gives out free oysters in Nairobi? That’s exactly how you get yourself some loyal return customers. I was excited to dig in, until the dish was brought out.

I have a long-standing relationship with oysters. About two years back when I lived in Lamu, we would hire a speedboat and set off for some remote island where we would knock oysters right off the rock, shuck and eat them on the spot with lime, tabasco, some butter and freshly baked bread.

While spending some time in Watamu, I also had a guy who would bring me a jar of these molluscs every other day for as little as Sh200.

I can therefore confidently say that the oysters we were served were not fresh and didn’t look palatable whatsoever. They had been on ice too long and it was a case of food poisoning waiting to happen, and the night was still too young to ruin it with a bout of vomiting. Perhaps that’s why they were being offered for free …