A few weeks ago, Garfish hosted a bloggers dinner to introduce us to their new Autumn menu. As a seafood lover, I've long known that Garfish was a respected seafood restaurant so it was with excitement that I accepted an invitation to finally dine here. It was also a great opportunity to catch up with Karen of Citrus & Candy, Julie of I Dream in Chocolate, Rita of Spoon, Fork and Chopsticks and meet Thang of Noodlies and Cheesecake Boy and Dumpling Girl.
Although it was a chilly Monday night, the restaurant was almost full to capacity.
The decor is inviting, fresh and airy.
Upon arrival, Zen and I are whisked into the private dining room where drinks are aplenty. Canapes include treacle cured yellowfin tuna, atlantic salmon tartare and crisp fried zucchini flowers.
A fragrant olive oil and some tangy za'atar are provided as accompaniments to the sourdough. One piece, two pieces, three pieces... Bread with za'atar is my weakness and to think I only discovered it a few months ago (thanks to Norma who runs my Lebanese food tours)! Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix consisting of dried thyme (or oregano), sumac and sesame. One of my favourite highlights of the food tour is the breakfast which includes freshly baked maanouche with a smear of za'atar! Simply amazing stuff.
Entree is seared Hervey Bay scallops with fennel remoulade, orange reduction and bacon crumbs. I love all the flavours and textures in this. The crunchy fennel mixed with the fresh tastes of chives and lemon juice; the gorgeous baby cress and the perfectly seared juicy scallop. The bacon crumbs are a little tough but overall there is a divine depth and complexity of flavours.
As we chat amongst ourselves, there is a kitchen cam streamed into a widescreen TV, which gives us live visuals of our main course getting plated up.
Main course is prawn and scallop cannelloni with white beans, grilled cherry tomatoes, avruga caviar and shellfish bisque. The cannelloni is delicately tender. Executive Chef, Stewart Wallace tells us that this is because it has not been braised in the sauce but rather, steamed.
The bisque is a whole other thing. The dining rooms falls into dead silence as we all savour this surprisingly light broth. Made of prawn and lobster shells, the broth features a light consistency but has the fullness of a bisque.
This dish also features the wholesomeness of blanched and sauteed white beans and grilled cherry tomatoes. The black avruga caviar adds a slight smoky flavour and while the bisque is a standout, it doesn't overpower the delicious prawn and scallop filled cannelloni.
And to finish, assiette of desserts - nougat and honey semifreddo, hazelnut pavlova and baby Belgian waffle with caramelised banana and rum & raisin ice-cream.
The semifreddo is an incredible combination of creamy ice-cream, crushed pistachios, zesty passionfruit coulis and stringy oak honey.
The hazelnut pavlova is layered with nuts and is texturally, the perfect pavlova - gooey centre - crisp shell - yum.
The Belgian waffle is delectable too. I love the warm Autumn flavours in this, especially the caramelised banana. If only the waffle was maybe ten times bigger!
Oh, and thumbs up to the dessert wine: Cookoothama, botrytis semillon, Murrumbidgee, NSW.
So the big question is, will I dine at Garfish again?
The answer is yes - fresh seafood, stunning well-executed flavours and affordable fine dining. Why the hell not?
1/39 East Esplanade, Manly NSW
Phone: (02) 9977 0707
Garfish, Crows Nest - 6/29 Holtermann Street, Crows Nest NSW
Garfish, Kirribilli - 2/21 Broughton Street, Kirribilli NSW
JENIUS & partner dined as guests of The DMA and Garfish.