“Good food is not found where restaurants are plentiful.
Good food is where you discover it for yourself. “
~ Chopinand, co-author of ChopinandMysaucepan
I often hear people remark that Sydney’s north shore is not as vibrant as Sydney’s inner west or the eastern suburbs when it comes to hip and trendy restaurants.
Granted trendy suburbs like Darlinghurst, Surry Hills and Paddington may be home to some great cafes and restaurants. But what if there’s nothing on their menu that tickles my fancy?
Friends often ask for restaurant recommendations. I prefer to counter with another question – “What do you feel like eating?”
Recommending a particular dish at a restaurant makes more sense than recommending the restaurant itself. Try as they do, not all restaurants do all things well that appeal to all diners. We all have different tastes and food in itself is highly subjective.
But every now and then, I come across a dish that tantalizes the taste buds and puts a smile on my face.
And recently, I found that dish in a seared scallops with pork hock, leek terrine and horseradish cream in a restaurant called Garfish.
Since opening for business in 2002 in the lower north shore of Kirribilli, Garfish has been offering local with some of the freshest seafood on this side of the Sydney Harbour bridge. In the last decade, the original location has expanded with the opening of two more branches in Crows Nest and Manly, suburbs which also happen to be in Sydney’s north.
Garfish Kirribilli is celebrating its 10th anniversary this October with their signature beer batter fish and chips at their 2002 price of $17 (normally $25.50). I also did the maths and the $8.50 price difference happens to be an average of exactly 5% increase over the last 10 years.
But inflation is not the subject today because it’s a glorious and sunny Saturday afternoon so Mysaucepan and I are here for an al fresco lunch.
I like the table setting at Garfish – simple yet stylish and the fold-out menu doubles up as a serviette holder.
There are daily blackboard specials that include fresh fish that you can choose from different cooking methods.
The wine list has about 20 whites by the glass to complement the seafood and some good ones from from Margaret river in Western Australia and Central Otago.
On the menu, there are fresh oysters with a mignonette dressing, oyster shot with Bloody Mary or crisp fried with soy, mirin and ginger ($3.35 each, minimum 4)
The oyster plate comes with two of each of the three options above.
L: Fresh with mignonette dressing R: Crisp fried with soy, mirin and ginger
The tangy mignonette dressing works well with the fresh oyster as how fresh lemon juice would while the crisp fried one with a soy, mirin and ginger lends subtle Asian flavours.
But on a beautiful day like this, I think my favourite is the oyster shots with Bloody Mary.
The seared scallops with pork hock, leek terrine and horseradish cream is an elegant play on the classic combination of seafood and pork.
Two plump scallops sit on top of a slice of pork hock and leek terrine. The horseradish cream offers just a teasing amount of heat to the sweet and succulent scallops while the terrine is tender with small chunks of salty meat.
This dish is like a beautiful woman with a pair of delectable assets to tempt and subtle flavours to flirt.
I believe this dish would rival the entrees in many hatted restaurants in Sydney. Compliments to the chef who created this elegant and stylish dish because I would recommend it in a heartbeat.
The signature beer batter fish and chips come with two golden brown fillets and a thick and chunky tartare. This is what I have been waiting for a long time.
Light and crispy batter? Check. Not overly oily? Check. Tender and succulent fish fillet inside? Check. All the hallmarks of a good fish and chips are ticked.
Any urge to ask for tomato sauce is quashed with the rich, eggy and mayonnaisey tartare which is obviously homemade because no supermarket brand can taste this good.
Perhaps I could have dipped my crispy chips in tomato sauce but they were nice enough to eat on their own.
There is hardly any diners sitting inside the restaurant because al fresco dining on a glorious day like this is a nice way to soak up some Sydney sun while sipping on your chilled chardonnay.
Congratulations Garfish on turning a big 10! Your fish and chips is still one of the best among so many in Sydney. And whoever said there isn’t any good food in Sydney’s north shore?
So, I believe good food is not found where restaurants are plentiful. Good food is where you discover it for yourself.
Harbourfront walk, Bradford Park, Kirribilli
It is a glorious Saturday afternoon and the best thing about Garfish’s location is a short stroll down to Bradford Park to get a dose of Sydney harbour and the Opera House.
The view of the Sydney Opera House is breath-taking and truly a sight to behold.
L: Sydney Harbour Bridge R: Sydney Opera House
So dear readers, do you normally recommend a restaurant in general or a particular dish that you liked to your friends?
2/21 Broughton street, Kirribilli
New South Wales 2061
Tel: +61 29922 4322
Monday – Saturday breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sunday breakfast and lunch only
6/29 Holterman street, Crows Nest
New South Wales 2065
Tel: +61 2 9966 0445
Open 7 days breakfast, lunch and dinner
1/39 East Esplanade, Manly
New South Wales 2095
Tel: +61 2 99770707
Open 7 days lunch and dinner