Saturday, 5 January 2013

Garfish, Crows Nest

As its name indicates, Garfish focuses on seafood - more specifically, fish. With an open kitchen and clean, minimalist decor, Garfish looks both approachable and upmarket. The menu is extensive, partially due to the seasonal specials menu that lists a range of fish, cooking methods and sauces from which one is able to mix and match at leisure.

Generally, the more expensive and fancy the restaurant is, the more the food is handled and the more complex the dish becomes. Nonetheless, when it comes to seafood, there are times when it is best to allow the natural flavours of the ocean take centre stage. Garfish tends to do this.


 The waitress who came to take our order was very friendly and stressed that the chefs are open to adapting menu items, such as having main-sized entrees. We didn't need this flexibility, but it's something that I'm sure many appreciate.

When ordering the grilled ciabatta, I was given an and/or choice between the garlic butter and black olive tapenade toppings, to which I answered, "Both please!". The slices of bread were toasted lightly - no rock-hard or burnt bits - with thin layers of spread. The garlic butter tasted lovely, but the olive paste stood out more (probably more because it's less commonly found).

Grilled ciabatta ($4.00)
The second entree to arrive was a plate of oysters that were prepared in three ways. All the oysters were fresh and not too fishy in flavour.

The shot glasses in the middle contained the 'oyster shots', which consisted of fresh oyster sitting at the bottom of Bloody Mary. While it was an interesting combination, the taste of the tomato was quite overpowering, making it too sour for me to finish. In the end, I only drank about half of the shot before picking out my oyster and moving on to the next part of the oyster plate.

Oyster plate (half dozen) ($20.60)

I actually started off my oyster plate with the oysters natural, which were accompanied with mignonette dressing. The sea salt and vinegar provided a nice kick to the oysters, refrained from interfering with its natural flavour, and was probably my favourite method of preparation for the day.

Oyster natural
The third set of oysters were crisp fried and served with soy, mirin and ginger. The crunch of the batter and the lime juice that we squeezed over the oysters reinforced the Asian influences of the dish.

Oyster crisp fried
My third entree was a plate of grilled marinated baby octopus with garlic, rocket, red onion, lemon, capsicum, and a creamy sauce. While the taste was nice, the octopus was tough and rubbery. As someone who grew up choking easily on various items of food, I was concerned that I would find myself amidst feelings of deja vu. I tried slicing the octopus into bite-sized pieces, but ended up failing to saw through it.

Baby octopus ($18.00)
My lunch partner ordered the fish and chips (or in this case, snap peas). One of the pieces of beer battered fish was heavily sprinkled with sea salt, so it's important to spread it around as evenly as possible to avoid choking ("Well of course," one might say, but alas, this salt calls for extra care). I have no complaints about the way the fish was deep fried - the batter was crispy, the fish was not too fishy, and the meat was soft and flaky.

Beer battered fish ($25.50)
The main that I ordered was poached Atlantic salmon with cauliflower puree and fresh greens. Though it doesn't look elaborate, the salmon was cooked perfectly - it was especially mouthwatering when eaten with the creamy puree. The fish tasted fresh, and the meal was light overall.

Poached Atlantic salmon ($30.00)

Conclusion? Garfish manages to deliver tasty fish dishes that are uncluttered by excess ingredients. Nevertheless, the jury is still out regarding their treatment of other types of seafood.

Garfish - Crows Nest on Urbanspoon

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