Friday, October 17, 2008

Finefish (Good Food Month) - Neutral Bay

After much deliberation and some turned away last-minute reservations for the Good Food Month special lunches (and taking into account parking issues), my partner and I settled for Finefish in Neutral Bay.

The word "settled" carries with it a connotation that it is second-rate. And honestly, during our 20 minute hunt for this restaurant walking up and down Grosvenor Lane, the thought that this restaurant (seemingly non-existent) really isn't worth the walk crossed my mind several times. Nonetheless, my partner (back from Melbourne for the weekend) persevered (and thankfully so).

As we walked past the downstairs fast-food type joint (which also sold fresh seafood) and trekked upstairs, I was pleasantly surprised and somewhat mesmerized by how modern and somewhat cute the restaurant looked. It also had an balcony outside dining area which unfortunately was filled up by the time we arrived.


Finefish Menu

The complementary bread came first. And it was quite awesome. The bread was fresh and soft. The crust of some pieces were very garlicy (some even had a bits of garlic stuck to it). Dipped in olive oil, it was heavenly!

Awesomeness Complementary bread

The waiter recommended the oysters with nham jim, cucumber and crispy eschallots ($3.50 each). My partner and I were blown away with the presentation, and even more so with the taste and texture! The oyster was smooth and creamy, and the sauce was very complementary. It was very mildly spicey, refreshing (thanks to the cucumber), and yet, brings a strong favoursome taste (due to the crispy eschallots). Highly highly recommended. If I didn't stop him, my partner would have wanted to order atleast 2 dozen more!

Freshly Shucked Oysters

Close-up of the awesomeness oysters

Having set the strandards so high with the starters, I eagerly awaited our mains. The Good Food Month lunch (Roasted Moreton Bay Bug Tail with white polenta, poached egg, and truffle vinaigrette) came with complementary wine and coffee ($35).

I was quite awed by the presentation of this dish and being a lover of cream sauce on just about everything, this dish hit the spot. It smelt SOOOO good! The bugs were swimming in the lovely sauce with the poached egg adding just that extra bit of aesthetics to it. My partner also seemed to love this sauce, although he (and I think rightfully so) commented that it must be sooo horribly unhealthy for us. The bugs themselves were quite nice too, and were thoughtfully deshelled so that every bite was just bug+sauce. Mmm...

Moreton Bay Bug Tail (Good Food Month Lunch deal) - $35

Bugs with the added aesthetics.

We also ordered the Pan Roasted John Dory with king brown mushroom, blue lentil, and pancetta vinaigrette ($34). This also was quite good (but I think the Bugs ranked above). The fish was slightly overcooked, and the foamy sauce was light and added well to the fish. The mushroom is really good (but I may have a bias). But the blood orange... hmm... well... I guess I'm just not a fan of warm fruit.

Pan Roasted John Dory - $34

The waiter talked us into ordering dessert. This warm Soft Centered Cake with caramel and what seemed like cheesecake base ... and a glob of cream and cured strawberries ($14) was delicious. Even though I was full, I scrapped the cake and caramel sauce til no trace of it could be seen on the plate. Words can not describe the caramel sauce and the little cheesecake-crust-like-bits! As for the cream and the strawberries... well, I'm willing to overlook that. I've always believed that icecream goes much much better with cake (or actually, with anything) compared to cream.

Soft-centered cake - $14

And, there was ofcourse, the complementary coffee. Lacking in coffee art (my observation), my partner (being "melbournian-ized") commented that coffee in Sydney just doesn't compare (taste-wise).


Overall, I was quite awed out by this seemingly small unknown restaurant tucked away in almost-impossible to find place in Neutral Bay. The service was attentive, the flavours were excellent, and the price...? Well... decent for what you got (but I guess that it is a bit expensive for lunch :P). I recommend it! And try and get in for the Good Food Month lunch!!!

Food = 9/10
Service = 9/10
Ambiance = 9/10
Value for money = 7/10
Overall = 34/40

75 Grosvenor Lane
Neutral Bay
NSW 2089
Tel: (02) 9908 4448

No comments: