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« VttI's Valentines Meat and Two Veg | Main | Short & Sweet: CHISWICK restaurant, Woollahra, Sydney »
Wednesday
Jan172018

Short & Sweet: Saint Peter, Sydney

Style: ‘Nose-to-tail’ fish restaurant

Budget: Mid-range to expensive, depending how much you order.

Venue and atmosphere: Casual and relaxed. A minimal and understated terrace shop front on Paddington’s pinch of Oxford St.

Service: Also casual, but still extremely knowledgeable. We got some good, honest advice re. menu choices (“that’s plenty”) and wines (perfect choice).

Food:

This was the most interesting meal I had on this visit to Sydney, which if you follow my Instagram feed, you will recognise as very high praise indeed. Chef, Joshua Niland, takes the ‘nose-to-tail’ concept, usually focussed on land, and applies it to the oceans.

I never thought that I would choose to order fish liver on toast in a restaurant or that I would actually like it, but the Eden John Dory Liver & Parsley on Toast, cooked rare over charcoals, was remarkably similar to chicken liver in both flavour and texture, with only the slightest hint of a ‘fishy’ after taste. That makes it sound unpleasant, but I'm talking about the kind of umami goodness you get from sauteing something in anchovy butter, rather than cooking old fish.

Similarly, Mooloolaba Broadbill Belly Bacon was very similar to real bacon, crispy and cured, with only the slightest aftertaste of anchovy-esque fish giving away its true colours at the end. It came on an English muffin with a gloriously runny, golden egg and sweet tomato relish. The perfect Bacon and Egg muffin, but with fish. A+ for novelty, but also damn tasty. Possibly the best dish I had on this trip to Sydney.

Other top picks were the Pippies with BBQ Corn, Preserved Lemon & Shallot – a great balance of salty (seawater), tangy (preserved lemon) and sweet (corn) with just cooked clams – and the Hand Picked Ballina Spanner Crab Croissant – sweet and tender meat dressed in one of the best crab bisques I have ever tasted and served with one of the most crisp and buttery croissants I have ever eaten. No superlatives here, all truth.

The signature dessert, Lemon & Passionfruit Tart, was a fine way to round things off – a perfect balance of sweet and tart flavours, very creamy and just set with a slight wobble at the tip. The pastry could have been shorter and thicker, but everything else was so good, I’ll let that slide.

Drink: A concise list of reasonably priced, mostly local wines showcasing interesting varietals from new and different regions. The 2016 Bress Fume Blanc from Macedon, VIC was a great example of all of the above and exactly what the Doctor (Dash) ordered – floral and aromatic with a touch of fruit, but not too much sweetness. 

In a nutshell: Chef, Joshua Niland, takes the ‘nose to tail’ concept, usually applied to land dwelling beasts, and makes it his own, showing that it can just as well be applied to our flippered friends.

Out of 10: Saint Peter: 362 Oxford St, Paddington, Sydney, NSW, Australia; +61 (0)2 8937 2530; hello@saintpeter.com.au

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