Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Fish Shop - 22 Challis Avenue, Potts Point

It's local restaurants like The Fish Shop and Busshari that would tease me over away from the beach to live amongst the many food options in Potts Point.  Bondi Beach needs a kick up the ass when it comes to mid price point, a little bit fancy (no thongs and bikinis) dining options.  There are too many Thai, pizza and hipster tapas places.  Merivale can you please expand your portfolio by opening a place at the beach?
Anyway I had been wanting to try out this place for a while and the opportunity came up recently.  I had felt like some good light seafood dishes before the warmer weather ends and the soup and stew season kicks in.
It was busy on a Friday night but we were able to get a table for 5 easily and weren't rushed to vacate.  The waitress was swift and attentive but maybe she was a bit busy that she got one of our drinks mixed up and then when the correct drink came, it came in a plastic cup?!  Strange. 
Two of us had some oysters to start off with.  A bargain at $2.70 each but when they came out they were tiny.  But they were still fresh and creamy and I could've had more!  Others got the potato scallops which looked scrumptious!  Fatter and smaller than the ones you get at the local fish and chip shop.
For mains I ordered the special of salmon cutlet with mash and mushrooms with a splash of some good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.  The mash was so buttery and together with the oily salmon I filled up quickly.  This dish was really simple but delicious.  "It's all about the freshest, in season produce!"  The catch phrase of chef's nowadays.  And it's true.  All you need is great raw ingredients to start with and the skill to cook it perfectly and you have a truly good tasting dish.  The white and blue enamel plates on which the dishes were served  up on adds to the very fishy themed restaurant.
I can't remember the price of my salmon as it was on the specials board.  One thing they could do is have it written on the board as the waitress didn't tell us when she was telling us about them. Don't you feel a bit funny and awkward to ask how much the specials are when they are being read out to you?  I do.  It's like you don't want to interrupt  them as they try to remember all of them!

I rate this dish 8.5/10
One of my friends had the special of trumpeter with nicoise salad.  I had never had trumpeter before so I had a taste and it was quite firm and tasted like a mix of swordfish and hake.  Very nice indeed and it was quite a generous piece. 

And of course someone had to have the good old fish and chips, in fact we got two at our table.  It was another generous serving.  I forgot to ask what the fish was but it came with chunky chips and dairy free tartare sauce.  I only remember that this dish was $19 as it was on the menu. 
We also got the iceberg and cucumber salad, which sounds drab, but it came with the best ceamy dressing ever.  It was so good that I forgot to take a pic of it, but hey, you can imagine those two veges on a plate.  Originally the salad was for my dairy free friend but then when it came out and saw it we wanted to make sure what the dressing was by asking the waitress.  Then she realised it did have dairy in it so she gave us another plate of the salad without the creamy dressing but with lemon and olive oil, salt and pepper instead which was nice of her. Again this salad was suprisingly good as well.  We all noticed that the salt and pepper used was different and much tastier and think it was due to the addition of the underated white peppercorn. 

We didn't have the space for dessert, but they did sound tempting.  So I think I will have to go back and sample some so I can write about it. 
The Fish Shop is a great little place for a casual meal if you feel like fresh seafood cooked to perfection.  A definite must try.

The Fish Shop on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Food Stories from Seoul, Korea

Recently I went to Seoul for the first time for work.  I was super excited as I do love Korean food and I always love going to a country I've never been to before.
Here are some of the meals I had in the few days I was there.
I was wondering the streets of Myeong-Dong, one of Seouls main shopping districts in 4 degree, but sunny weather and my stomach was growling.  Not remembering where I had seen some hot pot restaurants I wondered for a bit and looked at a menu stuck on a wall when I was suddenly whisked into the elevator by an elderly lady shoving the menu into my hand and before I knew it I was in a busy restaurant and sat down at a table.  I looked at the menu properly this time and it was a BBQ and hot pot restaurant, although most people seemed to be BBQ'ing.  So I went ok, I'll have the beef and one rice, pointing to the picture on the menu.
The many banchan sides came out.  Some I hadn't seen in Sydney before.  There was a plate of raw garlic cloves, didn't touch that. The bean sprouts were my fave.  Buttery yet fresh.  The dish in the middle with the two browney looking things with sesame seeds is a version of the white jelly things I have eaten at Seoul-Ria.  I still don't know what it is. I think its radish or rice cake??  Anyway the  beef was delicious although a bit chewy.  Wrapped in the lettuce leaf with some chilli sauce & sesame oil, it reminded me of my BBQ experience back in Tokyo. 

Next highlight was the ultimate street food.  It was lunch time but I didn't have the time to find a place to eat and I was starving, so I decided to go for it.  I had seen this amazing creation the first day I was in town but my stomach wasn't hungry then.  But this time I walked up to the stall with the creations freshly being deep fried and pulled out 2000 won, $1.70 to pay the lady and pointed.  She smiled, lifted this hot chip covered hot dog out of the oil, pricked it with a skewer, drained it of the oil and asked me if I wanted tomato sauce with it.  Yes! I said, and then she wrapped a few serviettes around the wooden stick and handed it over.  I don't know what to call it, but the hot dog chip steroids looked amazing. 
First bite, all chip and sauce.  Second bite, a bit of bread, which was a bit sweet!  Third bite, finally got to the sausage!  I must admit the chips were the best bit.  If there was less bread I think I would've enjoyed this streetfood more.  It was quite hard to eat without getting it all over your face.  Overall a bit of a let down.

On my to-eat list in Korea is one of my fave dishes, Spicy Tofu and Seafood soup.  I found this in a food court above one of the many fashion malls in Dongdaemun.
Again when I ordered the soup I got banchan which I was happy about.  I had never seen beef as banchan before but who cares it was so yummy, with a strong seasame but sweet flavour.  I also got a side of Deokbokki.  Everyday I saw people eating this on the side of the street.  They are little rice cakes shaped into cylinders and cooked in a spicy chilli sauce.  The rice cakes were chewier than I thought, but still nice.  I also could've had a bowl of rice but I told the lady I didn't want it and they thought I was a bit strange.  But lady I just ate that whole plate of Deokbokki and banchan!  Oh well.
Then the soup arrived.  Boiling and bubbling hot as it came out in the stone pot.  It definitely warmed me up, although it could've been done with a bit more chilli heat.  There was a good amount of seafood and tofu and I loved breaking the egg yoke into the broth and seeing it cook.   All this was only 6000 won, about $5.20.  Mmmm I feel like this again now.

On the last day I decided to eat on the street again, this time for dinner in Namadeun.  An area known for the markets that sell everything from spoons to kidswear to cosmetics and also wholesale markets.  There was a lot on offer in terms of food, I didn't know what to get!  I settled on this stall where the lady really welcomed me in, but yes in the end she ripped me off.  So a lesson learnt ask how much before you point at the delicious food you want cooked up and sit down to eat it!!
Still a bit pissed off about this whole experience but the food was ok.  Everyone gets a bowl of this mussel soup, which was like a salty, seafoody broth.  Warmed me up quickly while I waited for my pork and shallot skewers and japchae noodles.  Japchae are glass noodles made from potato starch and is very popular in Korea.  It was cooked in a sticky, tomatoey, chilli sauce.  Quite nice I must admit.

I definitely want to go back and try more Korean food, more unusual dishes, seeing as we are lucky that all the way over here in Australia we do get pretty authentic and good Korean food already.

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