Twitter. Once upon a time we all some of us had a life without pulling out the smart phone, touching a blue “t” icon and being connected to a stream of voices from far and wide. It was a simple life of cassette tapes, learning how to use a microwave when they first hit the shelves and when a mobile phone didn’t fit in any kind of pocket, even when you retracted the antenna. Can you teach an old man new tricks? It was only two or three months ago that I buckled to the pressure of that tweeting little bird and I’m afraid to say I’m twiddicted.
Being invited to share the #summermenu with a mob of fellow tweeters at one of this towns top restaurants was something I didn’t hesitate changing my plans for. I’ve always wanted to eat at this place. The Michael McCann design is simply remarkable and the setting, on Pyrmont’s Jones Bay Wharf, is oh-so-Sydney. Executive chef Peter Kuruvita was in Colombo, Sri Lanka when we all descended upon his restaurant and thanks to the power of Twitter he was part of the conversation and had little choice but to listen in and partake.
Pre-dinner drinks were had in the outdoor bar – sparkling wine, beers and a mighty fine cocktail called Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Perfect for a balmy evening over Sydney Harbour. Muddled strawberries with orange and lime as well as Limoncello, a good splosh of orange vodka and peach liqueur. Very, very nice.
Here come the canapés. I’ve had jamón from Iberia before, just shaved and simply draped over bread when I was in Spain. The delicate hands here at Flying Fish do it a little differently. Twisted paper-thin crostini that snaps with the slightest of pressure, topped with jamón and two drops of espresso mayonnaise. Coffee and smoked pork, who would have thought?
Claire de Lune Sydney Rock Oysters are passed around, topped with ocean trout pearls and on their briny heels we catch sight of skewered prawns bursting from salty tumblers like fireworks. These popcorn king prawns are smeared with mayo after being cooked then rolled in Japanese pepper, coriander and crumbled popcorn. Ideal cocktail food before taking seat in our private room beneath a wall of glorious vino. If there actually is a heaven I’m sure one of its rooms is decorated just like this.
Soft and warm bread rolls are delivered promptly to tear and enjoy with two types of butter – the regular variety and something a little more curious. Smoked butter with black salt.
The very talented young Head Chef Stephen Seckold gives us a brief run-down on each of the dishes as they’re brought out as does Sommelier Joe Turnaturi on the great wines chosen to complement each plate. Some of the dishes are more complex than others and some are quite simple.
We start with a Flying Fish signature that’s graced the menu from the beginning. Seared yellow fin tuna with twice-cooked pork belly, pink grapefruit, crowned with a strip of crackling and a ring of black pepper caramel. Divine. I reckon we’re off to a great start.
Confit of Petuna ocean trout (from Tassie) cooked in olive oil for 8 minutes at 43°C, topped with sustainable aquaculture caviar from Spain. Alongside is a velvety green pea mousse scattered with puffed quinoa, puffed ocean trout skin, crispy black sesame glass and a tangarine vinaigrette. Let’s not forget more of those glorious ocean trout pearls for a surprise burst of saltiness.
The prawn ravioli is generously filled with prawn mousse and is topped with a shaving of South Australian green-lipped abalone and poached NZ scampi. Finished with a vinaigrette of new season zucchini flower, tomato, coriander, lime juice, chilli and finger lime. An absolute pleasure to eat.
I hate to make favourites but I just couldn’t help myself with the pan roasted hapuka with hazelnuts, white balsamic potato, green grape, capers and beurre noisette. Each grape was peeled and each potato matched the shape and size of the grape and the shallow pool of creamy and buttery sauce brought everything together. The creaminess of the fish and the crunch from the hazelnuts did wonders.
The final savoury dish stepped away from the ocean and settled on grass-fed wagyu Mb7+ sirloin, braised short rib with smoked leek, king brown mushroom, beetroot purée and horseradish. The sirlion is cooked for around five hours wrapped in plastic in a water bath. Tender, juicy and melt-in-the-mouth.
Our sweet ending came as a ginger crumble nesting a quenelle of apple icecream with a light sprinkle of black salt, roasted almond and fennel followed by coffees and an almost unnecessary (yet most appreciated) plate of petit fours. Ok, now someone roll me down the wharf and put me in a cab.
hnf dined courtesy of Flying Fish