Chef Monty Koludrovic is calling this a jurassic oyster. It weighs a whopping 1.8kg in the shell and he broke three oyster shuckers trying to crack it open.
The head chef of Bondi’s Iceberg’s Dining Room and Bar bought two of them from his long-time oyster supplier, Frank Theodore. The meat inside is bigger that the average steak, weighing in at 320 grams. They cost the chef around the same as a dozen oysters
Theodore calculated that the Pacific oyster is at least 11 years old. It was found, along with several more, on the seabed in Quibray Bay, near Cronulla, south of Sydney, when divers were cleaning under the oyster leases.
Koludrovic said the oyster farmers believe the sprat (baby oysters) must have fallen through holes in the baskets used to grow out the molluscs and “made good of its surrounds”.
The farmers changed from using baskets more than a decade ago, so the giant oysters are one of a kind.
Koludrovic couldn’t resist buying a couple to experiment with, but was still working out what to do with them when Business Insider spoke to him on Wednesday evening.
It’s expected to be on the specials menu at Iceberg’s Dining Room and Bar today.
“The first port of call is in a terrine with sea urchin on gelee made with tuna broth,” he said. “And I’m looking at frying it with zucchini, calamari and leatherjacket [a fish] cheeks.”
He plans to dice in finely and you can expect it to be a little chewy.
“You’ll need cutlery if you’re going to eat it out of the shell,” he said.
It’s not the sort of oyster you’d give a first timer to try in order to win them over, the chef says.
“It’s got a really mature aroma. I guess it’s more intense oyster smell. It’s not really muddy or unpleasant, but it’s pretty funky with some intensity there,” he said.
For Kulodrovic, the joy of the oyster is that as a chef he gets to try something unusual and share it with diners.
“I love things like this where the farmers have had to go out of their way to offer something amazing,” he said.
So how does it taste?
“Really fresh tasting. Big umami, big salt, big sweetness. More mentally challenging than on the palate,” Kulodrovic said.
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