Rick Stein’s venture is a seaside-seafood delight, set up for success. What, with the view, the big name chef and emphasis on fresh, local seafood it’s hard to not be impressed. It really is the perfect place to lunch with idleness. The menu is broad and carefully considered, this is not for the fish or seafood faint hearted. In fact, there is only one red meat option on the whole menu, most definitely for those with an aversion to all things aqua. Deciding on an entree was hard work, with so many excellent options. However, I’d advise to give the traditional seafood plate a miss and sample the “dressed” seafood options. I say this because there is an inherent requirement to sample just how harmoniously each dish melds. The grilled Hervey Bay scallops with hazelnut and coriander were generous and delicious. The prawn fritters were lightly battered and the accompanying chutney and salad balanced the sweetness with fresh tang. Though without doubt, the entree to order is the warm medley of shellfish – Fruits de Mer, gloriously bathed in butter, garlic, chilli, lemon.
For the main, the grilled local rock lobster caught my eye immediately. Yes, it is pricey (on the day $120 for 480g, including shell) but if you’re going to eat Lobster, eat it with Rick. A silky, French inspired buttery, chervil and tarragon sauce was the perfect compliment to the sweet lobster meat.
Chef Stein is a curry master and the Indonesian curry with Ling, squid and prawn was simply, liquid gold. Elegantly crafted, there was a real piquancy to the dish.
The Barramundi fillet with mash is a solid option for those wishing to veer on the side of aquaculture caution. Both substantial and well presented.
The Singapore Chilli blue swimmer crab was all things it should be – a hands-on, messy festive delight.
The beauty in this food is that there is very little interference with the star ingredient. Because, let’s face it, excellent seafood requires very little assistance. And therein lies the mastery of it all. No overcooking or meddlesome and clumsy attempts to overcomplicate the dishes. Simply delicate, considered accoutrements to accompany perfectly cooked fish & seafood. It just works.
Alas, the restaurant namesake and man himself was nowhere to be seen. We were just a couple of weeks shy of his return, so this foodie was afforded the dignity of not being starstruck – for this visit at least.
Food, wine & service? Par excellence!