80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont
12pm-3pm, 5:30pm-11pm daily
Fine dining isn’t overdone; it is effortless. It is omnipresent waitstaff with expert knowledge. It is specially portioned dishes that are complicated in taste and simple in design. It is cool and collected.
Flying Fish represents fine dining.
Before you even reach the entrance and enter through the large glass doorway, you get a clear view of the Flying Fish kitchen from the main corridor. It’s a nice touch, emoting transparency and pride. Everybody knows that a restaurant’s vibe is best seen in the kitchen.
There is another expectation when fine dining: the initial greeting. For a seamless evening, make sure to book prior. It’s wonderful to throw out your name at the host desk like it means something. This is me, I’m here, I’m important. A quick greeting and you’re being led to your table – and wherever it is in the dining room, you’ll be afforded a wall-to-ceiling view of Pyrmont Bay and Barangaroo beyond. Opposite the exquisite view is the kitchen, trundling along with every order while minimising as much noise as they can – but with just enough to keep your senses perked. The cutlery spaced out on the table is a rare brand to see in Sydney, while the glassware is by the one and only Riedel – which includes tulip-shaped champagne glasses. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: lavish sparkling wine goes in a tulip glass, which is especially true if you’re serving champagne on a three-figure-and-up basis.
But perhaps wine is not your forte; perhaps you’re seeking something stronger and sweeter or lighter and tighter? Perhaps a mocktail for those who a driving or just underage; perhaps an artisanal saké or apera; or maybe just a beer or a neat shot of whisky? Whatever your tastes, you’ll find something on the menu.
Now that your apéritif (or mocktail) is sitting in front of you, let us order some food. The menu acts as a thick paper placemat, with one side sharing all the goods and decimal point-free prices. We decided on half a dozen oysters for entrée, accompanied by ‘shrimp on the barbie’ prawns – which was a special dish for the Australia Day long weekend. The oysters were fresh, featuring a tiny bowl of ginger vinaigrette that gave a swift kick towards the upcoming mains. The large prawns were barbecued with the head and tail still attached, then laid to rest on a bed of mango kombucha glaze. A nice juxtaposition between sweet and spicy.
Mains consisted of two dishes; a Murray cod on a bed of peas, jamon cream, asparagus and fig leaf oil; and a snapper resting on pumpkin purée, prawn and macadamia. A plate of green beans, topped with crushed almonds, lemon and dill oil accompanied our meal – the crunch of these was well noted, as was the warmth radiating from both coupe bowls. These little details are always important. The saltiness from the Murray cod mixed beautifully with the citrusy sauce beneath, which could be best described as the Australian version of pesto sauce. And with the snapper, being the popular dish at most seafood restaurants, brought with it an Asian-inspired mix of spice and bittersweet textures, from the breakable fish to the smooth puree to the crunch of the macadamia.
For dessert, we chose a Milo chocolate mousse with Vegemite caramel (another limited time dish for the Australia Day weekend); and a charred lemon parfait, with salted butter crumb and toasted meringue. Both dishes were at polar opposites from each other; the Milo and Vegemite concoction was rich and heavy, perfect for a supper snack before bed, while the lemon parfait shared a lovely zest, a wonderful start to a wild night.
While our evening was more stringent in regards to expenditure, the option of going “all-out” is there. You could have – if enticed – a 30g dollop of Black Pearl Beluga caviar – served with potato waffles and cultured cream – for $440; and you could match it with a bottle of Jacques Selosse Brut Grand Cru – from Ambonnay, France – for $1,500. And as well as the à la carte menu, you could try a set menu with a set price that won’t blow the budget, from a pre-theatre dinner to a chef’s choice collection. You can be as extravagant as you want.
But, whichever way you spend your lunch or dinner here, don’t expect cheap, for this is fine dining and must be treated as such.