Sometimes you go to a restaurant and you just want to taste everything on the menu. Just as well then that Flying Fish, a fine dining restaurant with views of the water off Jones Bay Wharf, knew they were on to a winner: the ‘Tasting Menu’ was born.
On the night I dined there for a birthday celebration, however, our group decided to skip the Tasting Menu (oh yes, I will be back for it), and chose our separate starters, mains and dessert.
Choices, choices, choices. It would have been against every Filipino bone in my body if I skipped any meal that had pork crackling in it, so while I toyed with the idea of ordering something off the special menu, a kingfish carpaccio dish, I ended up ordering the 'seared yellow fin tuna with ruby red grapefruit, sweet crackling pork & black pepper caramel'.
When our entrees came, naturally I wished I ordered what someone else ordered. One of my fellow diners ordered the sashimi and, boy, did it look good. My choice didn’t disappoint though and I happily cleaned my plate. The black pepper caramel certainly had that sweet taste I like so much (like an upscale version of the Filipino ‘Mang Tomas’ sauce) and the crackling pork, which I thought would be at least matchbox size turned out to be a sliver on top of the fish. But hey, I enjoyed it anyway and the portion was certainly of the small-enough-to-keep-me-coming-back-for-more variety.
While the wine was flowing (excellent choices courtesy of the wine expert in our group), we continued to our mains.
Again it’s one of those hairy moments when you wonder whether you made the right choice but I struck lucky because my pick garnered a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from our table.
I asked for the 'line caught Sri Lankan snapper curry with sweet potato mousse, date & tamarind chutney, curry leaf crisp & condiments'. You know how there’s this culinary trend to deconstruct a dish where you serve the core ingredients separately? Well that’s what I got with my dish. The tamarind chutney, often mixed into the curry, was set on the plate as coin-size dots. The coconut curry sauce had to be poured onto the fish while the condiments were on a separate plate, too (see pictures).
It's very different to the way I cook fish curry: throw all the ingredients in the pot and make a Hail Mary sign.
I was so engrossed taking snaps of my plate that I almost didn’t want to eat. Almost. The coconut curry wasn’t too overpowering, the tamarind chutney added just the right flavour while the snapper was cooked just right. I thoroughly enjoyed the dish and highly recommend it.
The piece de resistance, as anyone with a sweet tooth would tell you, is the dessert. There’s nothing better than capping a great night out with sweets that make your taste buds tickle.
I really wanted to taste the ‘blueberry soufflé with violet ice cream’ but was put off by the sign that it might take at least 25 minutes waiting time.
I didn’t want to hold up the group so I opted instead for the 'salted peanut semi freddo with banana curd, lime & popcorn praline'.
Whoah. I didn’t even know what semi freddo meant but liked the idea of salted peanut, banana, lime and popcorn in the same dessert. Very ‘halo-halo’ (‘mix mix’ in Filipino). I liked it but it didn’t quite make my hall of best desserts ever. Only earlier that day I had mango and macadamia tart for lunch (Central Baking Depot off Erskine Street). Yes, for lunch. I knew I’ve got dinner ahead and thought I’d have a light lunch by having a big plate of watermelon.
Then I decided to go for a walkabout around King Street Wharf and passed by Central Baking where the mango and macadamia tart called me by my first name. I never say 'no' to anything with mango.
But I digress. Flying Fish is definitely the seafood restaurant to go to for that special occasion. The food was sumptuous, generously sized, and, as our host pointed out, “decadent”.
I have already planned my next visit. Tasting Menu, here I come.
Pinoy fact: The bread they serve tastes exactly like the much-loved ‘pan de sal’ back in the Philippines. I swear! It's the same one that many would have grown up eating for breakfast, served warm with butter, straight off the oven of the nearest local bakery. Oh god, I want a bucket of that bread now.
Flying Fish Restaurant & Bar
Pier 21, Jones Bay Wharf Pyrmont, Sydney
02 9518 6677
Photos taken by the writer on the night. March 16, 2012.