Through the fishnet, Southbank at sunset. For a country girt by sea, how few really great fish restaurants are there in Australia, let alone Melbourne? Come to think of it how few fish restaurants are there at all, beyond fish and chip shops? Bacash in South Yarra is famous for fish. As is Esposito in Carlton, it’s baby sister St Peter’s and the Albert Park Hotel and all are worth the detour. Donovan Cooke barking orders at the pass. Then there are places such as the Lobster Cave that gets mixed reviews and John Lethlean scored it 9/20 in The Age, leaving him wondering if it was “proof of some kind of parallel universe”. Now the bar has been raised to a new level with the much hyped opening of The Atlantic at Crown which brings the much anticipated return of chef Donovan Cooke from Hong Kong to the Melbourne restaurant scene. The place is packed and has been since opening, perhaps something to do with the publicity Cooke has received, but also perhaps because it was Grand Prix week. I visited it twice last week and can confirm it’s got a real buzz. There’s no music and it’s not too loud or too quiet. In the background we can hear the Yorkshire bark of Cooke sending orders out to the open kitchen of some 20 chefs. I started in the bar with champagne ($24 a glass) and half a dozen oysters of the restaurant’s choosing. I’d have thought they’d have given us the best on offer but, at $4.50 each, they were milky. It was very dissapointing and if I hadn’t been with the restaurant’s PR (who for some reason I was buying dinner) I would have sent them back. The next day I returned, attempting to order oysters “as long as they aren’t milky” in the bar. Later at out table we again asked about oysters and half a dozen Coffin Bay arrived, firm but very very cold. The wine list is pricy and currently the mark-up is about 100 per cent on retail. The Mac Forbes Arneis 2009, which costs about $26 to $29 in stores, was priced at $62 odd. The starters couldn’t be faulted. The seafood cocktail isn’t to be missed and I loved the crab salad – a beetroot carpaccio, with beetroot jelly and delicate chunks of crab and a few other twists. The… Read more »
Posts Categorized: fish
These garfish, with their long beak-like noses are stunning glistening, shiny fish. There aren’t the cheapest in the markets but at under $17 a kilo right now they aren’t the most expensive fish either. The white meat is delicate and the best way to cook them is to keep it simple. Here we rolled them in seasoned flour and pan fried them. That’s all. And they were served with a squeeze of lemon, the new season’s asparagus, herbed butter and a Dal Zotto 2008 Pinot Grigio from the King Valley. Yes, we started with oysters and possibly a boutique champagne before moving on to globe artichokes. Yes, we may have finished with juicy (out of season Queensland) strawberries and cream. Then La Luna cheese. Sorry I didn’t keep it quite as local as I’d hoped. But we did involved the cat.