Obey the Rumble
There’s something a bit fishy about this weekend. Time to embrace the preternaturally glorious weather we’ve been having and abandon the stodgy comfort food of winter. I know it’s only August, I know we’ll have at least two cold snaps before spring truly arrives, but to hell with it: when the skies are this blue and the wind is this warm, it’s only natural to turn to some lighter, fresher, fishier cuisine options. So throw a few shrimps on the barbie and get ready for a weekend of seafood heaven.
Get to Mohr Fish straight after work to snaffle up one of the few tables. This Surry Hills favourite looks like nothing special – tiled walls and simple décor, an old-fashioned fish café that you could easily walk past. But don’t be fooled, these people know their fish. Start off with some garlic prawns to share, maybe throw in a few prawn and fish dumplings for good measure. Those still craving a bit of winter comfort food should get the fortifying fish pie or the bouillabaisse. For some spice grab the fishcakes with wedges and a delicious chilli coriander infused slaw. And you can’t go wrong with a bit of their barramundi either. Note: have cash on you as they don’t take cards. They have a decent wine-selection but it’s not cheap so if you’re a bit strapped for cash then BYO. Or save all your pennies for after dinner and shuffle next door to the Shakespeare for a few nightcaps and a good-natured cricket debate with a drunken pensioner.
Mohr Fish, 202 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills
The Shakespeare Hotel, 200 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills
Find a reason to celebrate. A birthday, an anniversary, whatever – it’s the end of the week and it’s time to get a little fancy. Sleek up and glide into Wildfire. Start at the bar and drink in the views as you drink down a few signature cocktails. From what I can remember the “pushka” is a winner. Once you’re seated at the restaurant focus on ordering as many of their salt and pepper prawns as you can possibly stomach. Wok fried in this amazing balance of lime, coriander, chili, black bean, garlic and a dusting of Sichuan seasoned flour, they are just divine. If you’re an oyster lover then go to town on the rock, pacific and meatier Angasi oysters. Stick to the smaller fishy dishes and skip mains all together so that you have room (and money left) for dessert. This is one of my favourite places to indulge my sweet tooth in Sydney. Everything is good. If there are more than two of you, get the Black Forest Bombé Alaska. It is decadence in a dish. You may need to lie down afterwards.
Wildfire, Ground Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay West
The fish markets open at 7am. I personally can’t eat fish that early so I’d recommend rocking up for lunch. (Note: if you have Friday off and you’re a morning person, sign up for one of the 6:40 am behind-the-scenes tours and see how the whole thing ticks). At the markets, go to the sushi bar and deplete their sashimi stocks. Perch at the oyster bar with a glass of champagne and feel like a real lady (or a real gent, whatever works for you). Buy some amazing fish to dine on that night – ask for accompaniment and recipe ideas from the vendors. Take advantage of their expertise and cook up a storm at home. Or if you can’t be bothered cooking then have dinner at Golden Century (my controversial preference to East Ocean) and load up on some steamed lobster, honey king prawns and deep-fried mud crab. Some stripped seaweed and a big bowl of their fried rice is always a good accompaniment. Their jasmine tea is a nice beer substitute. Try not to make eye contact with the crabs still in the tanks. It’s awkward.
Sydney Fish markets, Bank Street, Pyrmont
Golden Century, 393-399 Sussex Street
If the weather is as glorious as I’m willing it to be, Sunday will be the perfect day for a lazy beachside afternoon picnic of fish and chips. Drive to picturesque Watson’s Bay and find an awesome park (it’s like cheating death) then join the inevitable line at the popular Doyle’s On the Wharf Seafood Takeaway & Bistro. Abandon the indoors and sit al fresco to admire the water view as you tuck into some perfectly grilled calamari and some traditional fish and chips. Healthier types can forgo the batter and potatoes for some grilling and salads. I say get the salad AND the chips. It’s also nice to grab a few takeaway fish burgers and sit in the little park, book in one hand, burger in the other. Just be prepared to fight off a few seagulls – death stares don’t work. If you overindulge then walk up to the lighthouse and back. Reward yourself for the exertion with a big fat ice cream.
Doyles, 11 Marine Parade, Watson’s Bay
- Lucy McNabb