I must admit, I'm not very good at avoiding temptation (especially when it comes in an edible format). On Wednesday morning, I was reading about Regal King Salmon and as you do, I booked a table for two at Fix St James that very night, just to try it - it's one of the NZ First XV offers available this month.
I've been keen to dine at Fix St James ever since owner/sommelier, Stuart Knox fell into my radar via Twitter. Word in the Twittersphere (and it seems like everybody has dined here except for me!) is that Fix St James does a mean deal on sharing plates. A 'Quick Fix' at $44 per person will get you 5 dishes to share, and the 'Fix Me Up', at $54 per person will get you 6 dishes to share. The kitchen then picks the menu for you, working around anything you don't eat.
Tonight though, we decide to opt for the a la carte.
I naturally start with the NZ First XV offer - New Zealand Regal king salmon, with pickled baby beetroot, organic egg, broad beans, horseradish and cress, with a glass of Neudorf Brightwater Riesling 2008 ($25).
New Zealand King Salmon, producers of Regal King Salmon, are the largest farmers of Pacific King Salmon in the world. Pacific King Salmon are prized for their taste, firm texture, naturally-high oil content and vibrant rich orange/red flesh colour.
The salmon are hatched and nurtured in clear blue, mountain fed streams in Golden Bay and Canterbury province. The Waikoropupu Spring Water in the Golden Bay hatchery is purported to be the clearest in the world!
After about a year, the salmon are transferred from the hatchery to mature in one of four sea enclosures in the Marlborough Sounds where they are monitored, fed and nurtured 24/7.
The sea farms are carefully positioned in secluded areas where tides flush water in from the deep Cook Strait trough that separates the North and South Islands. Temperature (salmon thrive in cooler waters and best growth is achieved at a temperature of 12-17°C) and purity of water are critical and the sun, wind and tides naturally clean the sea farms obviating the need for chemicals, waxes and net washing pollutants.
So it is from the pristine waters of New Zealand that my entree is based on.
The salmon is barely cooked - its fresh vibrancy is accentuated with the wholesomeness of half a soft boiled egg, the slight bitterness of watercress, the luscious zing of pickled baby beetroot and the beautiful fragrance of dill. Yum!
The boy has the beef carpaccio ($20) but I am too involved with my salmon to notice anything else.
His main course, the Cape Grim Scotch Fillet Tagliata ($37) looks amazing. Succulent pieces of meat and crisp potato gems hide beneath a handful of salad greens and grated parmesan.
Meanwhile, I manage to talk myself into ordering a side of the greens ($11) instead of the hand cut chips ($11). It is a lush combination of broccolini, snake beans, peas and silverbeet with anchovies and garlic.
My main course is a ginormous spatchcock ($35), marinated and cooked in a marvelous blend of herbs and spices, and served with smashed peas. Even with the most hungriest of stomachs, I shamefully couldn't finish it.
Nor was I able to fit in dessert! (Maybe my sister's upcoming wedding is forcing me into a subliminal diet?!?)
So now that I've finally dined here, I can understand Fix St James' popularity. Great portions, bold flavours... Brilliant food all round. I'm definitely coming back for a 'Fix Me Up'.
Fix St James
111 Elizabeth Street, Sydney
P.S. Winners of the exclusive e-newsletter giveaway are Mimi, Cyndie and Stephanie! These lucky subscribers have each won a box of the new Sultana Bran Buds!