Review: the tide is high and bountiful at Barangaroo’s love.fish (Sydney)

Seafood is the ‘S’ word here at love.fish, as is ethically Sourced, Sustainbility and Supports local Suppliers. For a harbour city like ours, there aren’t many restaurants that can attest to being experts of what lies under the sea. The data is skewed at polar opposites of the graph, we have tonnes of fish and chip shops and plenty of elegant fine dining options. As a result, seafood also seems to come with its own misconceptions due to the dining climate of our city, that it is either deep fried and dirt cheap, or exceptional but expensive. Love.fish aims to occupy the vacant sweet spot in between, a casual-but-chic restaurant that you could patron a few times a week, rather than only for special occasions.

We order plenty before purveying drinks to accompany us through the night. Our liquid vices are the Pink Spritz ($19) and a Young Henry’s Cloudy Cider ($9). The spritz is made up of a spiced cherry rum, sparkling rosé and soda then generously topped with strawberries and grapefruit. It’s as fruity and refreshing as it sounds but seems like it might be a little more heavy-handed on the soda than the alcoholic components.

The three starters arrive promptly and at once. The first one that we sample is the Monkfish Liver Parfait ($22) [Daily Special] which comes highly recommended by pretty much every waitstaff we come across and even by Michelle (one of the owners) herself. It sits in a bowl squished between crispy bacon and compressed pear with a few bread crisps to the side to serve as flavour vessels. It’s savoury and moreish with the slightest hint of the ocean, all traits you’d expect when monkfish liver is heralded as the foie gras of the sea. However, having had it in its true, actual, non-parfait form (and being a huge ankimo fan), I found it hard to not draw comparisons and see it as slightly less flavoursome version.

The Clarence River School Prawns ($17) were my first pick after spying on the menu. I love how salty and crunchy school prawns tend to be and these ones absolutely met expectations, without being too oily either. It’s also a really generous serve, a starter worthy of sharing between 3-4 people.

An absolute no-brainer order was the NSW Hand Dived Live Sea Urchin ($18), considering uni is my one true love. I was really impressed with how fresh and creamy it was, I don’t think I’ve ever had it so good in Australia, bar actually obtaining it from the Sydney Fish Market itself. I’ve also never had sea urchin with bread before and was surprised at how well they went together, but also mildly guilty because having uni as a spread shows how extra my life has become.

Whole Bright Red Fish $42 [Daily Special] was our show-stopping centrepiece for the night. This was a sizeable South Australian line caught fish, dressed in charred broccolini, crushed new potato and romesco sauce. The fish was well cooked (not over, not under), and I loved the added oomph from the caper butter. It’s worth noting that with Sydney’s current weather and our table being situated outdoors, our food got cold quick, the quickest being this fish.

My dining partner thus far had been incredibly accommodating to all of my orders, from the fish liver to the whole prawns. Because of this, I couldn’t deny him his one  request which was the Twice-cooked Hand Cut Chips ($12). They actually turned out to be delicious, with a nice crunchy exterior and fluffy potato innards. Like your local fish shop but better.

The Flash Fried Brussel Sprouts ($14) was a dark horse order which turned out to be our favourite dish of the night. I cannot begin to express how much I love brussel sprouts generally and this one from love.fish has got to be the best version I’ve had yet. The smoke factor is on point, the centre of each sprout still has bite to it and the caramelised carrot puree simply pulls everything together. My kingdom for this side dish.

We were comfortably full but decide that pushing ourselves over the edge had to be on the agenda for that night. Enter the Shadows of Blue Cheesecake ($15) with caramelised walnut, pear sorbet and all saints rutherglen muscat. The blue is pronounced but not overwhelmingly so, there is no need to proceed with caution here. The beauty of how well put together this dish is, lies in how it has managed to encapsulate every aspect of your typical cheeseboard but brought through different mediums. Really well-balanced and another surprisingly good dish.

love.fish set and met the expectation of providing honest and no-nonsense seafood dishes that hand on green heart, aim to impact the environment as little as possible. This was all very pleasing to the seafood aficionado in me but what surprised me more was how deft love.fish is at their non-fish dishes. The Barangaroo precinct might be rife with every manner of restaurants looking for deep pockets but love.fish sits right at the juncture of deliciousness at not-so-Barangarooish prices.

love.fish

Address: Wulugul Walk, 7/23 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo NSW 2000
Website: http://www.lovefishbarangaroo.com.au/