Food review: The Fish House

50 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads

The food world sits at a nexus between the old and new; an old guard of meat-n-three-veg stalwarts butting up against a slew of sous-vide-owning millenials who maintain a pantry full of spice and world cuisine. In an ever-growing foodie culture which sees foams, gels, and tuilles taking over fine dining experiences more often than not, it can be incredibly comforting to eat out at a restaurant which clearly understands the mechanics associated with modern dining while at the same time embracing a simplistic approach to its menu. This is where The Fish House at Burleigh sits.

The stripped-back surrounds comprise whitewashed bricks and subtle lighting; a large mirror instantly doubles the interior. The staff, in their neat, pressed blacks, walk the fine line of being simultaneously attentive and unobtrusive. It’s a clever environment, one designed to ensure no focus is taken away from the food. Even the name of the restaurant conveys quiet simplicity.

The menu is simple, with eight entrees and mains available, a couple of pasta dishes, one steak and some raw selections. Still, we dither, finding several items too enticing to decide. (The raw Yellowfin Tuna catches my eye, $36). Eventually we choose to share the entrees of Pan Seared Scallops ($28) and Black-lipped Mussels ($28). Our choices are validated by the speedy arrival of our plates. The scallops are large, with a perfect crust from the pan breaking open to the sweetness inside. The squid ink and mushroom duxelle provides a subtle earthiness to the dish, with a tiny hit of salt from the speck of crispy serrano ham on top rounding out the flavours. After eating my two I crave an entire plateful.

The mussels are huge and barely touched by the heat, creating a texture which is more tender than one usually finds. They are served simply,  lightly steamed in a classic combination of white wine and onion and a hint of fresh herb. In order to mop up our sauce, we ask for more of the delicious bread served to us (and promptly gobbled) on arrival. Baked daily at Panya Artisan Bakery in Currumbin, this tangy sourdough provides a hearty sponge for the fragrant, umami juices.

The whole fried Crispy Snapper ($49) and Coral Trout ($50) certainly appeal, however we end up deciding upon the Petuna Ocean Trout ($44) and Patagonian Toothfish ($58) for the mains. The Ocean Trout arrives covered in delicate fresh herbs and tahini, and is oven-baked to perfection. The sides are simplicity personified; crunchy roast potatoes, tender-crisp greens and baby cos lettuce leaves in a zesty dressing, allowing the fish to shine. My Toothfish, a delicate white offering from Heard Island, absolutely melts in the mouth. The caramelised glaze was too sweet for my companion and utterly perfect for me, so we chose well.

By now we’re completely satiated, a bottle of Ochota Barrels grenache ($85) having gone down far too easily. The light red was a perfect accompaniment to the meal, and a solid recommendation by staff member Kieran. The drinks menu, at 20+ pages, is too robust for us to navigate unaided. With an eye to reviewing only, we sample the Citrus tart ($15) and Cannoli ($4) from the dessert menu, after gazing longingly at the shared Apple Tarte Tatin with burnt toffee and ice cream ($28), knowing full well we’d never do it justice.

The Cannoli is a finger-length bite, full of fresh custard with vanilla bean specks. Perfect for when you feel like finishing off with something sweet but have no appetite for anything hearty. I wish more restaurants offered this kind of dessert. The Citrus tart with mascarpone certainly packs a citrus punch, with the balance between sweet and sour leaning a little too towards sour for my taste. However it acts as a palate cleanser and provides an energising end to the evening. With autumn weather well on the way, we are advised that the summery tart is being removed from the menu and replaced with a raspberry cheesecake, complete with warming ginger-infused crust.

If you go to The Fish House and order the Black Onyx Scotch Fillet ($49), well, I guess that’s your business. While I’m sure it’s tasty and lovingly prepared, you’re probably better off just letting the The Fish House be what it is; a place for the superb treatment of quality seafood, excellent wine, and a very special evening out.

The Autumn menu of The Fish House has just been launched with a celebrity-studded evening of deliciousness. You can view the menu on their website.

For reservations, call 5535 7725 or visit thefishhouse.com.au

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