There are two dishes food lovers visiting Hiroshima simply cannot miss. Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is, of course, one. The other is oysters.
One of several bistro cafes along the Kyobashi River that offer drinks and dining both inside and al fresco, Oyster Conclave Kaki-tei is an excellent place to try Hiroshima's famous oysters prepared in a variety of ways.
Oyster Conclave Kaki-tei is open for lunch and dinner, offering set courses and a la carte dishes in simple, but smart surroundings, with views out onto the river. Inside, there are several tables that seat two or four people, and the tree that literally grows through the building is an interesting feature. Outside are three tables for four, shaded by parasols, next to the river - particularly lovely during the sakura cherry blossom season
Although fish dishes are available in the evening, as the name suggests, Oyster Conclave Kaki-tei is all about oysters. The menu changes seasonally, but on this visit I ordered the lunch set which included 7 dishes, 6 of which featured oysters, for ¥1800. The set kicked off with a chilled oyster on the shell garnished with a healthy helping of ruccola, and a cup of pumpkin soup. Next came a beautifully presented plate which included oyster gratin served on the shell, a deep fried oyster croquette and oyster marinade. All the oysters were delicious and juicy, and the dishes quite light. A glass from their wine selection would have been a perfect compliment, but on this afternoon I resisted. Finally, a plate with four oysters sautéed and served with salad, and a bowl of rice with, what else, more oysters finished off the course. The oysters sautéed oozed with juice when punctured by my chopsticks and had a quite meaty flavor and texture.
The only item on the set menu that usually comes with any kind of meat other than oysters, was the croquette, and the staff had no problem making one without - also a sign that everything is freshly prepared.
My dining companion ordered the other lunchtime option, oyster "doria". The oven baked dish of oysters (about 4) in a bed of rice with a creamy cheese sauce came with a side salad and cost ¥1000. It was tasty, but very filling and much heavier than my lunch set.
For dinner they offer another course menu and have a selection of oyster dishes available a la carte as well as a daily fish dish. I'd love to go back for dinner as this stretch along the Kyobashi River looks its best after dark and is quite romantic.
Oyster Conclave Kaki-tei is an excellent place, in a charming location, at which confirmed oyster fans and novices alike can enjoy one of Hiroshima's most highly rated exports.