Monday, March 26, 2007


We went to the Manly Ocenarium (Australian for Aquarium) the other day to see their lizard show. The theory was that exposing me to a 3.5 metre long olive python would help cure me of my phobia. To some degree it has worked, and I managed to touch the snake and I was allowed some gelato afterwards for being a brave girl. The trip also introduced me to some new fish. Which I then ate later that evening. I've often been puzzled by my reaction to aquariums. I really love them, but they make me really hungry. I can't listen to the helper telling me which toys the octopus loves to play with, or watch the cuttlefish squirling about without thinking about a spritz of lemon and a good hot griddlepan.

It's strange, people don't walk around zoos saying "ooh, panda, that's delicious" but I see to think it's a perfectly valid response at the aquarium.

We had our first encounter with Jewfish at Manly. Yep, Bri and I did a double take on the name too. Turns out they're members of the grouper family and Jewfish is a catch-all name for a number of fish round here. The name's not considered derogatory in Oz and you'll also hear them called Jewies. In Florida, where they are a protected species, they're known as the Goliath Grouper. They can grow up to seven feet long, eat anything that gets in their way and were living quite merrily with Manly's nurse sharks.

They are also quite delicious as we discovered at Garfish, in Kirribilli, that night. I really quite liked this restaurant. More seats outside than in, a large selection of fish where you choose the method of cooking and the garnish and a good selection of wine by the glass. They say that their aim is "our fish, the way you wish" although our waitress was keen to tell us that that certain fishes respond better to different cooking methods. There were several fish that we'd never heard of, like the Blue Eyed Trevalla (bad deep fried it turns out) and the Leather Jacket. The fishes provenance was next to the name on the menu, so it was really easy to choose local fish and not add too many food miles to the bill. Bri went for the Wild Jewfish (he couldn't not, really) with soft polenta, roasted tomato and asparagus as his garnish, while I chose Ocean Trout with a pistachio, orange and plum salad. The trout came very rare and the salad lacked a bit of zing. The plum dressing was just a tad too sweet and some chili would have been a nice contrast to the rich, sweet fish. The Jewfish was excellent though; a good, thick slab with the skin griddled until crisp on a creamy bed of polenta. It's rare I get dish envy when I'm with Brian, but he totally won this time.

I drank a really amazing Tasmanian pinot grigio and am really looking forward to learning more about ANZ wine. We just got a flat today, so once we're settled I can start all of the courses, learning and cooking I've been planning for so long!

Garfish Restaurant,
2/21 Broughton Street
9922 4322

Branches also at Manly and Crow's Nest.

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Anonymous Adam Balic said...

Very cool. The red rockcod is actually a scorpion fish (most likely Scorpaena cardinalis. Very closely related to the french rascasse. Since you can also get gurnard, monkfish, red mullet, stargazer, john dory, wrasse etc, you are in one of the few locations in the world where you could produce a hardway decent Bouillabaisse!

4:57 PM  

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