‘Would it be possible to get a table inside?’
The waitress scanned the list of bookings and as I was one of the earlier bookings for dinner that evening, she agreed and led Lara Croft and myself to a table inside the restaurant. Tonight was one of my fortnightly catch ups over good food with Lara Croft, where we discuss things from why men can be so aggravating and lovely at the same time to our plans for the future 10 years on. Riveting stuff. She had requested a change from our usual Japanese, suggesting Modern Australian instead, and I thought of Garfish. It’s one of the few what you could call ‘Modern Australian’ restaurants on our side of the bridge.
Garfish has branches in Kirribilli, Crows Nest and Manly, and all three restaurants have an atmosphere that is quite unique. The food is fine dining standard, however you’ll receive friendly and laid back service whether you’re in the suit you’ve been confined in all day at work, or thongs and board shorts from a walk on the beach. The Kirribilli restaurant’s emphasis is on outdoor dining as the suburb of Kirribill is nothing short of beautiful and quaint, however with the miserable weather outside that evening, I was relieved we managed to get a table away from the elements.
The waitress or waiter will always ask you whether you have dined with them before. The reason for this is because they have a very unique menu. They have the standard a la carte menu but also a daily blackboard menu where you select:
- What type of fish you would like, out of about five options;
- How you would like it cooked (for example, grilled, roasted, steamed); and
- What accompaniments you wanted with it.
It ensures that what you get is the freshest ingredients they have been able to get their hands on that morning, and I do love menus that change and adapt to what is seasonal and readily available. We made our orders and Lara Croft wanted bread – I hesitated as we were planning on doing dessert as well, but eventually agreed, only to have the busy waitress forget our order for bread. However the restaurant was becoming crowded and a mite noisy and it wasn’t put on our bill, so we weren’t too fussed. Afterwards we were very thankful we hadn’t received our bread as our meal was delicious and we simply ate too much!
We started the night off with a cocktail each – a Caprioska for myself and a Mojito for Lara Croft (all cocktails $14).
I had ordered the Ocean trout, grilled, with kaffir lime beurre blanc, mash and spinach ($30). Spotless plating, just the way I like it. The skin on the trout fillet was perfectly crisp and salted, with the flesh of the trout cooked to a beautifully silky medium-rare, exactly as the bubbly waitress had said it was. The buerre blanc tasted like liquid gold, with the lime juice sharpening it nicely, and the mash was fluffy and buttery. The spinach made the dish feel a little healthier, ha!
Lara Croft’s Barramundi, roasted, with potato and mushroom gratin and peppercorn reduction ($36) I imagine would have been plated up in the kitchen but hadn’t travelled to our table as well as my trout.
Regardless of presentation, the skin on the fish was also crispy, the flesh tender. Each layer of the gratin was perfectly distinguishable yet buttery and soft, and the peppercorn reduction was well seasoned. We two girls both polished off our mains with ease.
We deliberated on dessert and Lara Croft was sold by the waitress’s spiel on the blackboard dessert, the Passionfruit cheesecake with white chocolate cream and passionfruit dust ($14)
It was a set cheesecake, and while tasty, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary as far as cheesecakes go. The cheesecake definitely needed the passionfruit puree. I however, was extremely happy with my White chocolate and strawberry parfait with frosted summer berries and praline ($14):
At first I was a bit shocked to tap my spoon hard on the outside of the dome and discover it rock hard, until I tapped a bit harder, and boom!
The parfait was enclosed within a casing of white chocolate! You could taste that good quality white chocolate had been used in the casing, and the parfait was creamy and flavoursome, the rich strawberry flavour a nostalgic reminder of a summer passed.
Now, now, let’s not get all poetic
With the addition of the berries, the dessert was balanced with its sweet and tart notes, and my reason for finishing it with difficulty was because I was so full.
Extremely satisfied with our dinner, we left the premises and were cheerfully ‘thank you and goodbye’d by all of the waitstaff, even those who hadn’t waited on us. It was a lovely meal and I’ll definitely be by again when I get my cravings for a good quality, well-cooked beautiful piece of fish.
2/21 Broughton Street, Kirribilli NSW 2061
(02) 9922 4322