“Should we be doing anything to celebrate my promotion and bonus this year?” Mysaucepan asks all of a sudden.
“Well, I’d imagine that not many people even get bonuses these days let alone a promotion so I think we should” I reply.
“It’s a done deal then. I have booked Flying Fish for this Saturday and lets hope the weather is going to be good” she says.
Flying Fish restaurant and bar is located at Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont and has been wowing Sydney seafood lovers since it first opened in 2004. I remember it opened to a big fanfare years ago with executive chef Peter Kuruvita at the kitchen helm. He has led the kitchen brigade for 8 years from its inception but has since left the restaurant to concentrate on his cooking programs on TV and the business has since been taken over by hospitality group, Dedes.
For some reason, we have never been there all these years. But on a glorious Saturday afternoon during this Easter long weekend, I cannot think of a better day to be around Sydney harbour to soak up some sun.
It is a short walk from Pirrama road to the restaurant which is situated at the tip of the maritime heritage site of Pier 21 at Jones Bay Wharf.
It is a pleasant walk to work up an appetite while we gaze as the sailboats.
A cold beer seems to be the perfect drink for me on this warm and sunny afternoon.
Mysaucepan opts for a glass of Akarua sparking from the Central Otago region of New Zealand.
While we peruse the menu and gaze out into the beautiful view of Sydney harbour, our waiter brings an amuse bouche of smoked trout mousse and green pea dust on crispy papadam.
My spanner crab entree arrives as a small round mould of crab meat with tiny pods of pink finger lime, finely diced chives, zucchini, flying fish roe and topped with thinly shaved palm hearts and green pea shoots.
Flavours are subtle and elegant. The finger lime pods give a tangy taste to the sweet crab meat while the tobiko or flying fish roe, crispy duck skin add a good dash of salt complexity. I contemplate replicating this dish at home because I am liking it more with each mouthful.
“Is there really such a thing as smoked trout roe?” I asks Mysaucepan as we look at the menu.
“I think it might be just trout roe. I’m not sure whether trout roe can actually be smoked” she says.
Mysaucepan‘s Petuna ocean trout, crispy quinoa, miso cream, potato & dashi broth, red elk & smoked trout roe look stunning as it arrives in its bright orange glory.
I try a spoonful of the ocean trout and a burst of flavours dance in my mouth. The ocean trout must have been either sous vide or cooked in a very low heat oven to retain such a bright orange colour. It melts away ever so gently in the mouth while I close my eyes to savour the freshness and flavour of all the ingredients.
The crisp quinoa adds a crunchy texture while each “pop” of the trout roe tells me this is such a clever idea.
“I can’t help but think about Tetsuya’s signature dish” I tell Mysaucepan.
“Yup and this could be a clever variation although I think it is a beautiful dish in its own right” she replies.
The restaurant is not overly busy on this Saturday Easter long weekend and we have a great view of the harbour as well as the restaurant’s signature lighting that hangs overhead at our table.
The interior of the restaurant has dark wood reminiscent of an old pier dock but the funky touches of decor tell us the restaurant is on the pulse with a modern take on seafood that has proven to be thus far.
Mysaucepan‘s Cone Bay barramundi with white curry sauce and curry leaf prawns reeks of Peter Kuruvita’s Sri Lankan heritage.
The curry flavours are very subtle and personally, I would prefer the full-blooded taste and flavours of an Indian fish curry. Nevertheless Mysaucepan is enjoying her main with the hints of a tangy tamarind paste encased in a crispy wanton shell. The curry leaf prawns add another layer of flavour to the succulent barramundi.
This dish comes with a bowl of broken basmati rice to soak up the mild curry sauce.
The white meat of this southern ocean fish is firm and yet succulent and full of flavour.
I resist ordering red meat from the menu today because I remind myself this restaurant must be doing something very special with its seafood for so many years.
And although my Chaltam island Hapuka with white balsamic pink fir potato, grape, hazelnut & salt bush must have flown a long way from the east coast of New Zealand, I am enjoying this dish immensely.
This thick fillet of Hapuka must have spent at least ninety percent of the time searing skin side down on a hot pan to render the skin so crispy. There isn’t a hint of brown on the flesh side so it must have spent the remainder of its cooking time in a hot oven without even being flipped over until it is plated skin side up.
The thick potato medallions work tremendously well in the creamy white balsamic. My compliments to the chef for coming up with a clever combination of crunchy hazelnuts and peeled grapes to go with the fish.
After my main course, I couldn’t help but wander into the open kitchen in front of our table to get a closer glimpse of the busy chefs at work.
Here are a few dishes which caught my eye although we did not order or taste any of the dishes below.
The hand cut chips are thick, chunky, golden brown and looks absolutely delicious with that sprinkling of chilli salt.
I am a big fan of heirloom tomatoes because they are so vibrant in their bright colours, sweet and juicy.
The bigger heirlooms are peeled and the tiny basil seeds look so much like little black frog eggs in a pond. Another brilliant idea to contrast against the white goats curd.
I love the concept of an open kitchen in a restaurant because it forces the chefs to be on their toes throughout the entire dining session since they are in full view of the diners.
The chefs at Flying Fish look like an bunch of pros and the food on our plates this afternoon has been testament to their talent.
The private dining area is an impressive space where one side of the wall showcases some top drops from the wine menu.
And on a beautiful and sunny Sydney afternoon, why wouldn’t anyone sit outside to enjoy some of Sydney’s freshest seafood while taking in a panoramic view of Sydney harbour?
A walk along Jones Bay Wharf, Pyrmont
Jones Bay Wharf is located within walking distance to Sydney’s casino at The Star but it also offers a delightful walk along its harbour foreshores that leads to Pirrama Park.
After lunch, we took a walk around Jones Bay Wharf to work off the calories and enjoy what is a beautiful Easter long weekend in Sydney.
A flat rate of $7 per entry during weekends is a good enticement to come to Jones Bay Wharf which always seem to be a quieter and more secluded spot around Sydney harbour.
So dear readers, do you have a favourite seafood restaurant in Sydney?
Lower Deck, Jones Bay Wharf
19 – 21 Pirrama Road
Pyrmont, New South Wales
Tel: 1300 515 878