Since I moved to Sydney a few months back, I’ve had some of the best seafood I’ve ever tasted in my life. Obviously, when I was invited up to the Central Coast for the Fishermen’s Wharf Guest Chef Takeover, I had pretty high expectations.
The event is the first of several evenings to be held at the seafood restaurant. Various chefs have been asked to take the reigns for a weekend and create a unique menu based on exciting local & sustainable seafood. Corey Reid of Momofuku Seiōbo was the first to step up to the plate and judging by how quickly the tickets sold out, he was the right choice.
Situated on an old pier on the Brisbane Waters, the Fishermen’s Wharf has been family owned through three generations and has been serving local people for over 40 years. Current owner, Sam Clayton, was given the tough job of bringing the place into the twenty-first century whilst also holding on to all the traditional character of Fishermen’s that his family have built.
The restaurant portion of Fishermen’s has a warm and welcoming glow, particularly comforting on a chilly winter evening. The inside is thoughtfully decorated with scavenged furniture and mismatched, nautically themed ornaments all lit by candlelight and a few well-placed heaters. We were seated by the kitchen, which turned out to be the best seats in the house. In between courses we could catch glimpses of Corey and the team whipping up our next meal and our noses were in heaven throughout the evening.
After being taken to our table, our waiter took us through the 5 course menu and, on his recommendation, we went for the wine and beer pairing menu, picked out by Sommelier Michaela Clayton, to accompany the dishes. I liked this little touch to the evening as it kept my palate engaged and some of the wines went beautifully with the courses.
The first course, or ‘snack’ as it was referred to on the menu, were Sydney rock oysters served with cucumber and walnuts on a bed of rock salt. They were unbelievably fresh and an excellent little introduction to the evening (or so my partner informs me as I’m not a big fan of oysters.)
The next two courses definitely stole the show for me. I enjoyed that the yellowfin tuna dish was de-constructed so you could appreciate the flavours of the fish, crème fraiche and squid ink brioche separately. The combination was pretty heavenly; I happily could’ve eaten more.
Following the tuna was a spanner crab linguini with lemon and a dash of chilli which was my personal favourite. The flavours and texture of the dish was magnificent and it was portioned just right so you weren’t over-whelmed by the pasta. Plus the wine that was paired with the crab, a crisp Arneis, complemented the dish perfectly.
Personally, the linguini was so delectable that the final two courses couldn't live up to it. The black flathead with breaded mussels and onion was perfectly fine but in comparison to the dishes beforehand, it was actually quite plain. Even the accompanying Chardonnay didn’t quite bring it to life. The dessert, an orange and rhubarb puff pastry looked great on the plate and had a nice balance of the sharp flavours although I think the flaky pastry let it down slightly.
Overall the dinner was well put together and, from the ever-changing menu release before the event, it was evidently carefully thought out. I mean, what more do you expect from such an accomplished Chef? I loved the wine pairing and everything was cooked perfectly, I just felt the best of the night was a little too early. However, the atmosphere was vibrant, the service was fantastic and our waiter was happy to answer the questions we had about the menu, drinks and where we could grab a drink in the local area.
I would certainly recommend that you keep an eye out for Fisherman Wharf’s next Chef takeover, head up to Woy Woy and make a weekend of it. Even if you can’t grab tickets to one of the dinners, which is a possibility due to the popularity of the takeovers, the restaurant is still worth a trip. We will certainly be making the pilgrimage again at some point.
A big thank you to Corey Reid, Fisherman’s Wharf and NRMA Ocean Beach Resort for having us.