North Bondi Fish
Saint Peter, Photographer Nikki To
Saint Peter, Photographer Nikki To
Saint Peter, Photographer Nikki To
North Bondi Fish, Photography Federica Portentoso/Zac Sykes
From oysters, to crabs, to octopus, and ceviche, Sydney is welcoming an avalanche of seafood dining that is turning our run of the mill beer battered fillet on its head. A shift of focus onto seafood sustainability has encouraged restaurants to reconsider our relationship with the sea, but fear not, the accomplished chefs behind all of these venues would never sacrifice flavour. Below are our pick of Sydney’s best places to frequent if seafood binging is high on your agenda (it should be).
With an irresistible seafood offering and views across Bondi to match, North Bondi Fish is a must for lovers of all things fish. The relaxed space is the epitome of coastal chic, with timber furniture and pastel hues setting the tone for an ocean-centric meal. Rock oysters with a white balsamic mignonette and fresh horseradish (6 for $24) or the cured salmon with kohlrabi remoulade, green peppercorn, mustard oil and shiso ($24) will get things rolling in time for the seared scallops with confit chicken wings, miso, corn, pickled onion and chicken jus ($28). For mains we’d never go past a bug meat linguine with lemon, garlic, chilli and bottarga ($38) and the huge kilo serving of steamed Kinkawoonka mussels with tomato water, soft herbs and white soy ($44) is perfect for sharing.
120 Ramsgate Avenue, North Bondi
Head Chef Ian Royle delivers one of Sydney’s most acclaimed seafood restaurants, situated on the picturesque piers of Pyrmont. Known for their curries and Asian-inspired dishes, Flying Fish’s menu changes with the seasons and consistently provides a refreshing take on seafood. Get things started with a spicy tuna hand rool with avocado, tobiko and miso paste ($32) and the yellowfin tuna with fennel mousse, tomato ponzu, karkalla and puffed rice ($33) before warming things up with the seared scallops with dashi cauliflower, hazelnut and ruby grapefruit ($32). The whole rainbow trout with tomato pickle ginger broth and coconut rice ($45) is outstanding, and while the mud crab is having its moment, order one whole (market price) and see what all the fuss is about. The Drambuie parfait with apricot, muntries and brown butter ($19) is a must.
Lower Deck, Jones Bay Wharf, 19-24 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
Having served their devoted clientele for over 23 years, it’s widely known fact that the team behind Mohr Fish in Surry Hills knows how to push all the right seafood buttons. While there is a substantial takeaway offering, sitting in at the wine bar and mulling over the specials of the day is a much better decision – categorically. Renowned for their moreish Bouillabaisse soup ($16/$20), an entrée portion at the very least is non-negotiable, while the salt and pepper squid ($16) and the Sichuan pepper prawns with papaya salad ($16) are also excellent starter options. The BBQ barramundi with tomatoes, capsicum, green beans and gnocci ($23) is always popular and you can’t go wrong with a healthy serve of the beer battered garlic pawns with wedges and aioli ($22).
202 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills
A deep respect for the sea held by owner Michael Milkovic and Michelle Grand-Milkvic is apparent in every detail of this restaurant. The original venue on Rozelle’s Darling Street, the second love.fish has set up shop in the ever-sleek Barangaroo precinct and both strive to make sustainability a core philosophy of the business. The Barangaroo venue, with views over the Harbour boasts an elegant alfresco seating area where you can make your way through the extensive menu at leisure. The charred WA harissa sardine with pomelo, radicchio, and raisins ($20) and the smoked fish croquettes with green tomato salad and relish ($18) go down perfectly with a crisp glass of Riesling. The NSW turban snail ravioli with black bean butter ($22) is a must try and the whole roast SA snapper with ginger and shallot ($38) is the perfect way to convince a mate to join you.
From the duo behind Bentley Restaurant + Bar, Monopole and Yellow, Brent Savage and Sommelier Nick Hildebrandt deliver the new standard for seafood dining in the freshly completed Barangaroo precinct. Sustainable and line caught seafood is the backbone of the restaurant, inspired by its harbourside location and turned out clientele, the dishes delivered by Cirrus are unparalleled. If we’re feeling flush, we’d start with the 30g serve of Caviar from the USA, Italy or the UAE for $220 a serve, and the smoked ocean trout parfait with fennel pollen and pickled onions ($24). The mahi mahi with smoked mussel butter and carrot ($42) would be an outstanding follow up though it would be tricky to resist the coal roasted bass groper with paperbark and aromatic broth ($48).
10/23 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo
One of Sydney’s buzziest new restaurants, Saint Peter brings an inventive approach to seafood a thoughtful menu that changes as the catch does – it’s only natural. The sample menu, however, brings some fairly delectable options to the table, so to speak. Handpicked spanner crab, Kinkawooka mussel and purslane ($28), or the BBQ Flinders Island calamari with tomatoes and native thyme ($24) are entrée favourites. The line caught Bundaberg Spanish mackerel, parsley and pickled onion ($39) exemplifies their focus on letting the quality of the produce stand alone. The distinctly unique flavours of dry aged fish features on the menu, and the commitment of owners Josh and Julie Niland’s to offering sustainable seafood makes for a refreshingly thoughtful dining experience.
362 Oxford Street, Paddington
For lovers of high quality seafood without the white tablecloths, ample cutlery and pomp, House of Crabs delivers Southern Style crabs boils and literally encourages you to tuck in by getting your hands dirty. A 500gram bag of SA mussels will set you back $20, while the blue swimmer crab, spanner crab, Alaskan snow crab and Alaskan king crab bags of the same quantity range from $36 to $55. With your choice of sauce; Singapore, Cajun, Creole butter, lemon pepper, and Kerala you’ll be desperate to suck every last skerrick of meat from the crustaceans – don’t worry, finger licking is totally accepted. A kilogram mixed shellfish bag ($72) is perfect for the indecisive couple, and we’d definitely agree to a lobster mac and cheese toastie ($14) on the side.
The Norfolk Hotel, Level 1/305 Cleveland Street, Redfern
This Hatted restaurant at the tip of the Northern Beaches is a notable player on Sydney’s seafood dining scene. With unrivalled views over Whale Beach, you’re invited to indulge in a two to four course meal or degustation (prices from $80-$140 plus wine depending on weekend or weekday) of some of Sydney’s most inventive seafood fare on offer. The tagliatelle with Moreton Bay bugs, garlic, dried chilli and lovage is utterly delicious and the QLD bass grouper with peas, eggplant, apple and verbena puree, pickled onions, and crisp guanciale is a favourite. Team up with another seafood fanatic and try out Jonah’s ‘fruits de mer’ tiered smorgasbord ($220/$240) boasting Sydney rock oysters, ceviche, salmon remoulade, marron, house smoked salmon, seared scallops, seasonal fish and a selection of prawns with an assortment of sides and sauces to boot.
69 Bynya Road, Palm Beach
This waterfront location takes in 180 degrees views of Sydney’s Blackwattle Bay, the Anzac Bridge and Sydney Fish Market and has been leading the way in seafood dining for over 19 years. While the menu changes daily according to the produce available, there are certain staples that Executive Chef Colin Barker wouldn’t dream of replacing and the snapper pie with smoked tomato and mashed potato ($48) is absolutely one of them. When available, the roast eastern rock lobster with tarragon and cider butter (market price, 800g) is an extravagance you can definitely justify, with the unbelievably tender grilled Hawkesbury River calamari with potato, garlic and parsley ($27) the ideal entrée. Don’t miss out on sampling a range of oysters ($4.50-$6 each) from across Australia – we’d recommend a dozen.
123 Ferry Road, Glebe
Bringing oysters down to earth, the Morrison Bay & Oyster Room makes light work of accessibly and delectable seafood. Every Wednesday between 6pm and 7pm, you can score $1 oysters from their incredible Oyster Bar (usually $4 a pop) as well as dabbling in their other seafood exploits including the crispy skinned ocean trout with cucumber, watercress, sea vegetable and Japanese sesame dressing ($32). Be sure to consult the ‘Oyster Library’ before ordering, with an extensive range of the shellfish from across Australia, you can read up on every variety and be sure to find a favourite (or ten) to add to your weekly seafood hit.
225 George Street, Sydney