Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Garfish, Manly

Last night, Cheesecake Boy and I were invited to attend the Garfish Food Blogger Event at their Manly restaurant.  The event gave us the pleasure of tasting the new menu and the opportunity to question executive chef Stewart Wallace on the dishes we were tasting.   Cheesecake Boy and I were really looking forward to this event, as Garfish has always been on our 'want to try' list, but as you know we Sydneysiders have a lot to choose from so it's hard to fit everything in.

We were led towards the private dining room, where everything was all set for the evening.  Not long after we settled into the private dining room with our drinks, the canapes came out.

The table setting

As you can see, there was a lot of food consumed last night.  I was really glad that I didn't give into my munchies for an afternoon snack. 

The menu

Back to the canapes though.  Cheesecake Boy and I were quite hungry at this stage so when the first two canapes came out, instead of snapping away we ended up eating away but we were not the only ones thankfully.  I think as a group we must have been a bunch of hungry bloggers.  

We started with treacle cured yellow fin tuna, Stuart starts off with a kilogram of tuna and three hundred grams of coarse sea salt to start the curing process that takes up to three hours.  The cured yellow fin tuna then gets marinated with treacle and the final touch involves dusting powdered bonito flakes to give these cubes of tuna a lovely fullness in flavour.  The tuna was so tender, but the  seared surface gave a little that made them go down so nicely.  Perfect little morsels to start of with, as they were served on a pick and easy to eat.

The next canape was the Atlantic salmon tartare, these were served on Chinese soup spoons  for ease of eating and drinking and it was refreshingly delicious.  The salmon was served with feta, confit fennel and dressed with citrus and salmon roe. 

Crisp fried zucchini flowers were our final canape. The zucchini flowers were our favourite  of the canapes.  They were filled with hiramasa kingfish and prawns, wonderfully crispy and served with a lovely tangy sumac dipping sauce.

Crisp fried zucchini flowers with sumac sauce

We were then seated and I saw bread.  I never pass up bread, I could live on bread.  The bread was so nice, the crust had a real crunch and was wonderfully soft inside.

The bread

Stuart Wallace came in and introduced himself and the night's menu. He gave us a run down on the entree of seared Hervey Bay scallops from Queensland with fennel remoulade, orange reduction, bacon crumb and baby cress as they were being served.  We love scallops and the serving was truly generous.  The raw fennel remoulade had textural crispness and was a nice change from the purees that are normally served with scallops.  The bacon crumbs were thumped in a pestle and mortar so you could really feel the irregular powder of bacon crumbs. The inconsistency of the crumbs gives a nice crunch to the entree.  The fennel and orange reduction was a good contrast  that went well with the subtlety of the scallops.

Seared Hervey Bay scallops with fennel remoulade, orange reduction and bacon crumbs

The main was a prawn and scallop cannelloni with white bean, grilled cherry tomatoes, avurga caviar and shellfish bisque.  The cannelloni was bound by a fish mousse, the pasta dough is was rolled and the cannelloni is steamed as opposed to being braised.  We loved the caviar and couldn't get enough of it.  The pasta was wonderfully tender due to the steaming process.  The delicateness of the pasta really complemented the textural prawn and scallop filling.  When I was reading the menu, I thought the main would be too rich as bisque's are usually quite heavy.  However,  this bisque had a lovely lightness to it and the robust flavours of the prawn and lobster shell were not compromised at all.

Prawn and scallop cannelloni with white bean, grilled cherry tomatoes, avurga caviar and shellfish bisque

Dessert was a sample plate, I do love miniatures, they look so cute.  The assiette of desserts consisted of a baby Belgian waffle with caramelised banana and rum and raisin ice cream, a nougat and honey semifreddo and a hazelnut pavlova

Assiette of desserts: baby Belgian waffle with caramelised banana and rum and raisin ice cream, nougat and honey semifreddo and hazelnut pavlova

The baby waffle is made from a Belgian recipe with a yeast dough.  The yeast dough really reduced the sweetness of the waffle but it worked here, as it was a good contrast against the sweetness of the  caramelised banana and the richness of the ice cream.  Cheesecake Boy is usually crazy for rum and raisin ice cream and I am never keen on it, but this rum and raisin ice cream changes my mind.  Garfish sources their ice cream from Glace in Leichhardt.

Baby Belgian waffle with caramelised banana and rum and raisin ice cream

Next was the nougat and honey semifreddo.  Cheesecake Boy and I would never order a semi freddo as a dessert on any menu, as they are usually way too frozen and icy.  However, this semifreddo has really made me think twice.  This was our favourite dessert of night.  There was truly an addictive creaminess and crunch in this semifreddo that we couldn't get enough of.  The honey was not overpowering and the sweetness was just right with the nougat.

Nougat and honey semifreddo

We both liked the pavlova, the bits of hazelnut in the crisp meringue was a nice twist on a traditional pavlova.  This was a nice light dessert.

Hazelnut pavlova

Cheesecake Boy and I had a great evening at Garfish.  It was so nice to meet fellow food bloggers amongst quality food.   Stuart had the patience of a saint with our incessant questions at the end, after a very busy night and looking after us at the same time.

Fellow bloggers that attended were Citrus and Candy, I Dream in Chocolate, Jenius, Noodlies and Spoon, Fork and Chopsticks

Cheesecake Boy and Dumpling Girl dined as guests of Garfish and The Digital Marketing Agency.

Happy eating, Dumpling Girl.

39 East Esplanade
Manly  NSW  2095

Garfish on Urbanspoon


Simon Leong said...

oh yum. those Crisp fried zucchini flowers with sumac sauce look heavenly. :-)

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Simon - they were lovely, the filling was really nice, lucky I remembered to start taking pics then :)

Karen | Citrus and Candy said...

Nice to meet you though it was a shame we all didn't get a change to talk. I would've loved it if we were all on one table :) The bisque was amazing wasn't it?

chocolatesuze said...

looks like a fabulous night the baby belgian waffle is so cute!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Karen - It was lovely to meet you too, you're right one table would have been great so we could of all have a bit of a chat.

The bisque was crazy. I was surprised how flavoursome it was.

Hello Chocolatesuze - It was a great night, now I can put faces to some of the blogs. I agree thought, the miniature waffle and pav were absolutely adorable :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a shame I couldn't make it, I love seafood and everything looks fantastic! Thanks for the report :)

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Lorraine - that is such a shame. It was a lovely night.

gastronomous anonymous said...

Wow the food looks amazing! i love zucchini flowers! Havent been to garfish in such a long time!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi gastronomous anonymous, I love zucchini flowers too, I always order them if I see them on a menu :)

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

Lovely to meet you guys and it was a lovely, friendly meal with great food too. That bisque literally rendered us speechless!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello mademoiselle délicieuse, it was lovely to meet you too. Totally agree that it was a great night out.

thang @ noodlies said...

The bisque was yum!

I'm still dreaming of it. Sorry we didn't get the chance to speak!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Thang, yes I still remember the taste of the bisque.

Least we met, we were all preoccupied that night with photos and you had more work cut out for you with the video cam :)