Thursday, 21 July 2011

fish at the rocks

there is nothing i love more than a relaxed dinner which to me involves a nice bottle of wine, good company and most of all the willingness to share. our sunday night excursion to fish at the rocks in sydney (two colleagues and i) turned out to be exactly that. we figured it would be worth treating ourselves to a relaxed dinner before the kick-off of the commonwealth law ministers meeting which is what had brought us to sydney in the first place.

az and i have become lunch and early supper companions after having discovered our mutual love for food. i had never known that j loved food with an equal passion. it was at his suggestion that we ended up rotating our mains throughout the course of dinner so that we could all get a taste of each other’s food (i intend to replicate this practice with my other half).

we all skipped the entrees and were probably glad we did given the size of the main course. we also all settled on fish that we had not tried before. j chose the whole baked baby barramundi, de-boned, stuffed with diced prawn and vegetables, served with a red coconut curry and steamed rice. i chose the hiramasa kingfish fillet, grilled with morracan spiced green lentils, spinach, harissa and cucumber raita. az settled on a daily special made with hapuka and a tangine with dates. 

i enjoy trying different kinds of fish not only for the flavour and texture but also the kind of foods that are paired with the fish. one thing that struck me most about the menu at fish at the rocks was the boldness of the flavours paired with white fish. our main course choices revealed why it was possible to have this combination, as despite being ‘white fleshed’ the barramundi, hapuka and kingfish had a complex meaty flavour with a compact texture almost akin to a steak. the fish broke away in chunky flakes.

j’s barramundi was excellent with it’s stuffing of prawns and vegetables. the red coconut curry was mild on spice with a strong coconut cream taste, and if i had to vote for one of the three mains that night it would be j’s that would take first place. my hiramasa had a strong meaty flavour that stood up well to the lentils and the harissa. and although i usually don’t eat the skin, the one on this was crisp and very tasty (a bit like the skin of a well browned chicken roast). az’s hapuka was the mildest of the three with very delicate flavours accompanied  by a mildly spiced vegetable tagine. the sweetness of the dates was mellowed by the spice and actually went surprisingly well with the fish.

i could have easily skipped dessert however was told that i must order one in the spirit of cooperation and partnership. i was recommended the profiteroles and the brownie with mint ice-cream. i’m not a big fan of the former and the mint ice-cream in the latter didn’t sound exciting so i settled on the boozy affogato with cointreau. az went for the passionfruit crème brulee and j for the trio of sorbets. out of the desserts it was mine that turned out to be the best. az’s brulee was a disappointing affair with an over eggy custard that overpowered the vanilla. j’s sorbets were good. however, the combination of vanilla with a nutty and smooth cointreau laced espresso was just perfect!

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