Urban Oyster Bar & Eatery, Nelson


Nelson is an established food and wine region of New Zealand, with stunning seafood local orchards and a trove of local food producers and delicious dining establishments.   As a wine region it is predominantly known for the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Aromatic varietals. German settlers began cultivating grapes in the Nelson/Tasman region in the mid 1800's.

Touting itself as a place where patrons shouldn’t be afraid to put their elbows on the table and engage with the staff and fellow diners, central-Nelson Urban Oyster Bar & Eatery is both casual and upmarket. The Nelson area is blessed with fertile land and sea, and Urban makes full use of local produce in its “street” inspired oft-changing menu. Seafood features prominently, with fresh oysters served when the weather permits. Nelson, Marlborough, and Otago wines comprise most of the wine list, and creative cocktails encourage diners to linger later. It’s easy to see why Urban is one of Nelson’s most popular restaurants, and why it’s always buzzing.

The Urban Oyster Bar and Eatery drinks list includes 7 craft beers on tap, and two interesting local methodes along with plenty of great local wines by the glass.

When you're in for eats, hanging out and sharing, be sure to try:







Muddy Water ChardonnayMuddy Water Deliverance Charddonay, Waipara 2018 by the glass and then honour the memory by heading over to thewinelist.co.nz to buy a few bottles when you get home  🧨.

This super cool drinks menu also runs a by the glass "staff pick" Rosé.  We are in love with Rosé at thewinelist.co.nz  and offer a selection from all over New Zealand and the wider world.  

Spy Valley Rosé 2019If you are eating at Urban, you may be lucky enough to try the Spy Valley Rosé.  This is a Pinot Noir Rose from the neighbouring Marlborough region.  But you'll have to roll the dice on what delicious Rosé they are serving while you are in.










Jay Clement Urban Nelson




Urban’s Head Chef Jay Clement is a local Nelsonian, who apprenticed with Urban’s owner, Matt Bouterey, before Urban was a twinkle in Matt’s eye. After some time at Logan Brown in Wellington, Jay returned to Nelson and has been with Urban since its beginning, almost six years ago. He’s been the Head Chef for two of these years and welcomes a chat with customers at the countertop seating with a view into the kitchen.

The Wine List chatted with Jay over a meal of his selections on Urban’s first night back business under New Zealand’s Level 2 guidelines.

Q: It must be good to be back in business after several weeks off?

Jay: Definitely! I think we all needed a bit of a reset. The time off was well used. I slept for the first week, and we did a lot of work maintaining the restaurant, doing those jobs there isn’t usually time. And we rethought the menu. We do that from time to time anyway, to keep things interesting, but we had a few weeks off here where we could think about new things we could offer.

Q: So, what’s different about this new menu?

Jay: Everything really, except the Japanese-style fresh fish escabeche, which is a popular dish among our loyal customers. We’re relying solely on local business at the moment, and probably until next year, so we want to keep the locals happy!

Q: What is your favourite dish on the menu?

Jay: That escabeche, for sure, served with crispy sushi rice and togarashi seasoning. It distils the flavours of Japan. Another favourite is the Sichuan venison, served with roasted broccoli, sweet and sour egg, and peanuts.

Q: You’ve clearly a very popular spot here on Hardy Street, in central Nelson. What else is special about Urban?

Jay: About 80% of our produce is selected by Matt, the owner, and about 60% is grown by us, in collaboration with farms in Hope, just outside Nelson city. We like to support local farming, and sourcing our produce this way keeps our ingredients interesting. Like recently, we grew a whole load of chillies, the sort that aren’t that easy to find elsewhere around here. We change our menu frequently to keep up with the seasons, and scrap things when we need to. Like when there’s a cold snap such as we’ve been having this week. That’s all the beans gone? OK, we’ll need to change things up!

Q: Aside from using the closure period to refresh your menu and spruce up the restaurant, what else have you done to handle the Covid-19 restrictions at Urban?

Jay: We have the sign-in station at the door, where diners can use the app or a sign in sheet. We have hand sanitiser. We’ve spread the tables out a bit more, to create some distance. And we have these scannable app barcodes on the menus, too. We’re maintaining our hours, 11am until 11pm, and end the night with drinks and cocktails. We’re a sit-down place anyway, so haven’t really been affected by the prohibitions against people standing.





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