Meet the Makers – 1802 Oyster Bar

With the launch of our new 1 Day Coffin Bay Tour last month we thought we’d introduce our readers to some of the proud and passionate locals running tourism businesses on the Eyre Peninsula. The second interview in this series is with one half of the dynamic duo who operate the iconic seafood restaurant in Coffin Bay, 1802 Oyster Bar.

Q. Thanks for chatting with us Brett.  How long have you and Melanie lived on the Eyre Peninsula and more specifically in Coffin Bay?

We have been in Coffin Bay for two years in December. After holidaying here with family for a number of years we moved from Melbourne for a sea change and have loved every single moment!

How do you describe the region to someone who has not been here?

It’s is pristine, friendly and full of surprises, with wonderful wildlife and the best seafood and fishing in the country.

What is the story behind 1802 Oyster Bar?

1802 was remodelled from an existing restaurant four years ago and the name reflects the history of the area, being the date Matthew Flinders mapped the bay.  It’ s focus has always been the oysters fresh from the bay and we only use the most premium oysters available through our partners at Gazander.  Over time the restaurant has continued to develop our menu and always serves the best local seafood and produce.  We are the Eyre Peninsula’s most authentic and premium seafood destination and we are also very proud to be a showcase for local art with our walls displaying local indigenous artists works.

What are the most popular types of seafood that the local region produces?

We are very fortunate to have a vast array of options for our seafood. From favourite fish like King George whiting, kingfish and of course tuna, to flathead, snapper & nanygai. Also shellfish like abalone, blue swimmer and sand crabs, mussels, bugs, vongole and I think, the best prawns in Australia.

What is the best way to eat an oyster?  Any favourite recipes?

Fresh – and there is no better place than here for that, fresh out of the bay and shucked daily. We have the largest variety of flavours of anywhere on the Eyre Peninsula. Our most popular sellers are the Baked Oyster – oysters topped with Kimchi, and bacon butter, baked and finished with pecorino cheese. Or the Gin and Tonic – natural oysters topped with a gin and tonic granita and Australian native finger lime. But I think natural is the best way!

What sort of dining experience can people expect when visiting the 1802 Oyster Bar?

We offer fresh high quality seafood along with some amazing dishes for the non seafood eaters, in a relaxed atmosphere, with great service and views from our large deck across the bay looking at the oyster leases and spectacular sunsets.

What is your favourite dish at the moment and what would you wash that down with?

That’s a tough one, I have too many favourites!  If I had to chose I’d go for the Spencer Gulf Bugs – out of the shell, cooked in curried butter with butternut pumpkin, charred baby cos, cornbread and avocado emulsion, washed down with a Henschke Peggy’s Hill Riesling or two.

What are some of the other things that people visiting the region should not miss?

Pure Coffin Bay Oysters do a great tour either in the shed or out on the boat and this is not to be missed. We also have the an amazing Coffin Bay National Park with spectacular views, beaches and some great 4WD areas. It’s a great place for swimming and fishing and if you a keen for something a bit different, a scenic helicopter flight with Becker Helicopters gives you a very different and breathtaking view of the area. We can assist people with all these here at the restaurant.

Coffin Bay Day Tours

You can meet Brett & Melanie and enjoy a delicious seafood lunch at 1802 Oyster Bar as well as experience the incredible Pure Coffin Bay Oysters Tour, explore Coffin Bay National Park and much more on our brand new Coffin Bay Day Tour departing Port Lincoln all year round.