Sunday, 18 July 2010
On Thursday night I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview of the new Annandale restaurant, Fish & Co. It's due to open on 26th July. In the meantime locals are being kept in eager anticipation with newspaper stuck to the windows.
The restaurant styles itself as a 'sustainable fish' joint, and is a collaboration between Tom Kime and the owners of the Bronte Lounge. I wasn't quite sure what sustainable fish was before the evening. Farmed fish? Line caught fish? Neither, apparently (or at least in this interpretation). They are going to cook less common fish which still have plentiful stocks and have been accredited by either the Friends of the Sea or World Wildlife Fund.
During the evening we sampled nine dishes that will be served on the cafe menu. All the food was excellent and covered a range of styles. We had a Provencal fish stew, African charmoulah spiced tuna* and several Asian inspired dishes.
There were lots of highlights, but my favourite from the evening was the spicy Penang fish with ginger and chilli, served with lemongrass and black pepper dressing (above). The fish was flaky and not too spicy, with an amazing lemongrass paste sitting on top. The fish had a real freshness and balance of flavours that excited my palate.
There was still quite of lot of work to be done before the opening night and no menus for us to look at, so it was difficult to get an impression of what type of place it will turn out to be. There was talk of it being more cafe style than a restaurant. Based on the food we tasted, as long as the prices aren't too high Fish & Co will be a real neighbourhood gem.
*I would have thought tuna would have been one of the least sustainable fish going. The cafe uses albacore tuna, which unlike blue fin is apparently still in plentiful supply.