I also liked the space itself, which is bright, contemporary and decorated by an underground Newtown graffiti artist (unnamed because the boys in blue do like to prosecute such people). The vibe is lively, cresting on loud so if you're after a quiet meal, I would go early in the week.
Another thing I like is the growing trend of late towards restaurants offering all diners a complimentary appetite stimulator. Here we got a lovely tray of Salmon Belly Ceviche with Coconut Slices and Seaweed Salad and it was great, and particularly tasty because of his use of belly!
We started by trying two different types of Wallis Lake Oysters ($3 each); I really liked the one with Tomato Essence and Wasabi Granita, but I found the one with Sherry Vinegar and Eschalot not really to my taste, as it dominated the Oyster's natural briny taste completely.
And in case you're wondering, the menu also caters to those who aren’t fish-friendly with the Steak Frites ($26) on their permanent menu, plus there are some vegetarian selections on the specials menu including the lovely plate of Crispy Zucchini Fritters Stuffed with Ricotta and Goat's Cheese, Shaved Asparagus, Toasted Pinenuts, Dried Cranberries and Lemon Myrtle Infused Oil ($17) pictured below which I enjoyed a lot.
But it was beaten by one of the meatier specials - a spectacular and beautifully plated selection of Smoked Spiced Lamb with Scallops, Felafel, pureed Eggplant & Yoghurt ($17). And I must say, chef Javier Carmona makes one mean felafel!
Mains are well presented too, with interesting accompaniments like the Hiramasa Kingfish with Duck Rilette, Pickled Apple & Nasturtium Leaves ($28). They’re also liberally seasoned so you won’t be reaching for the salt.
My preferred main was also a special - the Crisp Skinned Barramundi with Tomato, Nigella Seed, Tartar, Fondant Potato, Salmon Roe and Pomegranate Syrup ($28). As you can see from the photo below, it was also presented very artistically on the plate. By the way, if you are thinking it's a bit expensive, and perhaps it is a shade, the specials were all a bit more expensive than the regular mains ($24-26).
Before we move to the sweeter end of things, let me say that younger diners may enjoy decorating the cod place mats – when you’re ordering from their Kids Menu (mains $12/ sweets $6) ask the helpful staff for crayons. Older guests should remember to bring wine, as the local bottle shop (within walking distance) leaves a lot to be desired.
Now desserts were not as exciting as the entrees and mains, but they were nice. The least successful dessert was the Turron Icecream Pestinos Hot Chocolate Shot ($12). Well likened by the staff to Churros, it sadly wasn't donut-like at all, but the chocolate was a rich, intense hit. I think the pastry was just overcooked, so perhaps this wasn't their best attempt at the dish.
The other dessert we tried was actually very successful - and it looked nice on the plate - it's a Cardamon Infused Pannacotta with Macerated Rockmelon and Spiced Nut Praline ($12). I liked it, and I don't even like Rockmelon! Now I will say, that the last Pannacotta I had, from Glebe Point Diner, enhanced with Honey and Rosemary still is my winner.
So if the urge for something fishy grabs you, this lovely new neighbourhood restaurant should be high on the list of places you consider.
83 Percival Street, Stanmore
Ph: (02) 9568 3355