Jim Wild’s Oyster Service
Not too far off the Princes Highway near Nowra, at the end of a dusty driveway littered with shells, there is an oyster farm and a rustic shack owned by Jim Wild. It might not be polished, but don’t be too quick to judge. If anything, the no-frills dining space on the riverbank is evidence that Wild and wife Robyn concentrate all their efforts on growing top-notch oysters.
For the past 32 years, Jim Wild’s Oyster Service has become much more than just a detour for those driving along the south coast; it’s a destination in itself.
If you prefer takeaway you can buy your oysters unopened. Otherwise, order them freshly shucked by the dozen. The small, creamy Sydney rock oysters are best enjoyed natural with a touch of ground pepper and a tiny squeeze of lemon. Wild recommends a good dash of Tabasco with the bigger, slightly chewier Pacific oysters. Both are usually salty enough, thanks to the salt water that trickles in when opened fresh. If raw isn’t your thing, juicy prawns (usually from Crystal Bay) are an excellent alternative. Occasionally on the weekend there will be oysters Kilpatrick, too. Just remember to bring your own beer and wine.
Grown in estuaries, it’s the combination of ocean and fresh water that makes the region’s oysters some of the finest in the world. Much of Wild’s success is owed to his fresh-is-best philosophy, with every oyster opened on the day.