Sunday, March 15, 2009

Flying Fish....finally

After numerous times re-booking this dinner and people cancelling on me, I finally made it. Of course, whilst driving there it had to start pouring, but in retrospect, it was something that only enhanced the night.

Sophia and I parked and walked to the end of the wharf, not seeing any signs, just hoping that the restaurant would be at the end, just like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. We were starving, slightly wet and just wanted to sit down and relax with a glass of wine. It went on forever but eventually we made it to the end. There was a restaurant, and I just hoped that when I told them the name of my reservation they would happily tell me they would take us to our table. YES. My female intuition did me justice as it was the restaurant and we were taken straight to our table.

Taken aback by the views and surroundings, we were seated at arguably the best table in the restaurant. It was right along the glass wall in the corner straight in front of the Harbour Bridge. The rain and mist coming off the Harbour made it a really mystical setting. I felt as though I was looking through a Snow Globe onto Sydney. The lights hanging from the open double ceiling were like fairy lights but the bigger bulbs resembled fire flies lighting up the space enough to keep the calm and soothing ambiance.

We glanced around, able to see both the open kitchen and sushi bar where our dishes would be made. The tiles behind the kitchen caught my eye as they were a metallic bronze with an amazing texture to them making them stand out from the other side of the restaurant. They really complimented the large wooden structure of the wharf which has preserved from the 1900's when it was used as a place to import wool, sugar, flour and other goods.

But enough about history, back to the food.

Thankfully we were served our warm sourdough bread rolls very soon after being seated, and we did not hesitate one bit, and devoured them in about 15 minutes. Of course many of your know how much I love Olive Oil, so it is a given that I asked for some to go with my bread, in addition to the smooth and creamy butter.

We were given our menu's and immediately shortlisted our options. I was tossing up between the Seared yellow fin tuna with ruby red grapefruit and sweet pork crackling, and the Seafood Tapas (not because of the current tapas fad, but just as it was a selection of many varieties of seafood prepared in different ways). After hearing what the tapas consisted of - cornet filled with scampi and creme fraiche, kingfish sashimi with a lime infsed cream, tuna tartare with almond cream and Avruga Cavier and finally a single oyster served with finger infused pearls and nigella seeds. HOWEVER, I was told about the tuna which was apparently the signature dish. I was torn, and although I wish I chose the signature dish, the waitress said she would get the tapas over the tuna as you can try a wider variety of things, and it was a lighter entree. That sold me.

I was instructed to eat from right to left as the flavours will build up. So I started with the cornet which was quite buttery which was good as the scampi was served cold and without a sauce, and was really amazing to have natural. You can taste its sweetness which isn't overpowered by heavy butter and herb sauces, but the creme fraiche and shallot made it a fresh and not too heavy combination but rather quite refreshing.

The Kingfish was amazing and probably the best sashimi kingfish I have ever had. The flavour was so strong and the fish was firm. It was served with shavings of cucumber and lime infused creme, although I could not taste the lime at all, but it didn't matter as I enjoyed the kingfish plain so much.

The tuna tartare was so surprising. The creme had such a nice texture and I would say was made by mixing almond meal with a pure thin creme. The tuna was really soft and once it hit your tongue, seemed to just melt in your mouth. Quite a mild flavour, probably as it was so fresh but a really interesting dish. I must have taken at least 10 minutes to eat it as each bite I took in the flavours and textures as it was something I did not expect but enjoyed every mouthful.

Lastly was a virgin coffin bay with ginger infused pearls. I was hanging out for this as oyster are one of my favourite pieces of seafood. I had never had pearls before but as I did not want to deconstruct this little spoonful to analyze each flavour, I just enjoyed the combination as was intended. It went down so smoothly. The oyster was delectable and its creaminess circulated around my mouth as I took in the flavours. It was a great way to finish the tapas and I was glad to choose this dish.

Sophia, unlike me, knew exactly what she wanted as soon as her eyes rolled over that dish. Caramelised white scallops with corn puree, cuttle fish risotto and basil foam. It looked diving, the scallops perfectly cooked, slightly crisp on the face but so soft and tender in the centre.

I ended up ordering the poached flounder with mud crab and vongole, served with scallop mouse. I was informed that the flounder for the night had been switched with the sand whiting. I thought that was fine, but once I started eating it I fond the fish a bit to mild for my liking and this was further enhanced being poached, not pan fried or baked. I did however, really enjoyed the crab and vongole, especially when I poured the scallop mouse over it, which was absolutely divine. So light and creamy, I could have eaten whole bowl full of it, and I waned to, especially when I got to the end and was scraping the last bits out with my fork.

Sophia ordered the Curry with pumpkin, mint and coconut, but I'm afraid I do not remember for the life of me what the fish was, but I think it was snapper. It was served with yogurt sauce which had cucumbers, capsicum and crab mixed through, roti, and spiced eggplant. The dish was quite spicy, and Soph had to reach for the water quite a few times, but mixed with some yogurt, or to dip the roti into, it was the perfect balance of flavours and levels of spice. The fish was nice and crisp on the outside but soft and cooked well.

For drinks I ordered a glass of red wine. It was a Coted-de-Rhone Villages ‘Massif d’UchauxDomaine di la Renjarde. I originally tasted a wine from Austria but found it too peppery and woody for my liking. The Sommilier just read my face as I tasted it so he brought out the Cotes-de-Rhone and I really liked it. Full of berries it was very smooth and a bit bigger in flavour. Although it did not 'compliment' my fish like other white wines would have, I enjoyed it just as much by itself.

Sophia ordered a cocktail with passionfruit juice, lime, vodka and a few other bits and pieces. It was called 'Bikini Blast' and we laughed for a bit at the name. However, they brought out the wrong one for her. It was a caprioska and very strong. She had one sip then asked for less alcohol, but they then realised she got the wrong one in the first place.

I was instructed before I arrived, by my best friend, Zena, that I would have to go to the bathroom. I told her of course I would be going to the bathroom, but she said "No you have to take note at the design". So I did as I was told and was amazed. They used the same technology as the Prada building in Tokyo. The cubicles are transparent glass and as you walk into the bathroom you can see the toilets. The change happens once you step into the cubicle and lock the door, then it changes to opaque. When you go to wash your hands they are controlled by a sensor, but not one that you have to swipe your hands 5 times to find, it is triggered once you step in front of the basin and happens straight away. There is even a little seat that us women can powder our noses at, which always helps. So the trip to the bathroom is one that I would encourage you all to do if you ever dine there.

Overall it was beautiful views, and an amazing atmosphere. We were very lucky that we got such a fabulous table as throughout the night there were one of the longest firework shows I have ever watched, not including NYE. It went on for about 10 minutes and they were quite big as well.

The only criticism I could give is that I think the service could have been bit better. For a fine dining restaurant, they made quite few mistakes and weren't as smooth and out of the way as I would have thought. All of the food was beautifully presented with tastes that matched, but some lacked that wow factor that other restaurants offer.


SydneyCider said...

Interesting shots. The food looks elegant, but at times chunky. Glad you enjoyed it. Would you go again?

Ivy said...

It seems that you had a great time. The seafood antipasti sound delicious.

---trish--- said...

I would go again, but I think there are other places, like Icebergs, which I would prefer to go if I was spending that much.

However, there are other dishes I would like to try now.