Thursday, 22 January 2015

Angry Fish, Crows Nest

When my dear dear mother gifted me and my partner a Groupon voucher many thoughts ran through my mind during that instance:

Will I receive attitude from the staff? 
Will the meal portions be smaller?
Is the food actually any good? 
Why did the restaurant decide to put themselves onto the website? 

Ultimate thought: Will they spit in my food?

But I gave my mother the benefit of the doubt, since she assured me she and Dad had been there before and had high compliments. 

So I embarked on another Groupon journey.

The meal consisted of ten courses. A complete mystery to me as they don't have a website or menu online. But this was also good fun because too often I try remembering what I read from the menu and anticipate what may come.

The restaurant is empty when we arrive. The usual reason for this is we're just old farts and like to eat our evening meal earlier than people our own age. Either way it's pleasant to have the whole place to ourselves.

Asahi and Green tea
As part of the meal, we each receive a beverage, either a cold Asahi from the tap, or Japanese green tea. The hot drink isn't my preferred beverage for a hot 30-something degree day, but the flavours are calming and cleansing.

The wait was short before the dishes started coming at us.

Shira-ae also known as 'mashed tofu salad', doesn't sound amazing, nor does it look particularly appetising but it's certainly a refreshing start to any meal, or accompanying as a side dish. The tofu is mashed and resembles a creamy salad dressing than as a main component. It dresses the cooked spinach that is still crunchy and sweet, drizzled with sesame oil. It's addictive and there's surprisingly a few mouthfuls.  

Sashimi salad
The two salads were brought out at the same time and the sashimi salad was a nice contrast as it was definitely more tangy. Layers of lettuce lay at the bottom of the bowl, then seaweed, avocado, tomatoes, and a selection of salmon and kingfish, all covered in that vinaigrette. I've had that dressing many times but I can never quite put my finger on what it's made of. Any knowledgeable people out there who know the recipe?

Aburi salmon nigiri
This was no doubt the highlight of the meal. The salmon is seared just enough so there's still textures and temperatures of cooked and raw fish that simply melt into each other as you chew through. It's coated with a terriyaki-like sauce that also manages to flavour the sushi rice. The thinly sliced red onion adds freshness and crunch and it really all just works too well with each other. 

After the aburi sushi, it seemed like the dishes just seemed to go downhill and it was quite unexpected considering how well they started off.

Beef tataki
The plate was cold when the beef tataki arrived at the table which made me immediately think that this was pre-made and chilled. Nonetheless, we dived in, trying to ignore first impressions. The marbled beef was cold, despite looking like it had been seared. The slices were also rather thick, making it difficult to chew, or rather a tear off. Scattered all over were slices of red onion and fried garlic but didn't give the dish much since the beef just wasn't quite prepared properly. I couldn't quite make up what the sauce consisted of, but it was certainly tangy and might've had some sesame oil too.

Seared scallops
This was another cold plate and despite scallops tasting sweet, the sear marks weren't going to fool us this time. Each scallop had a dollop of Kewpie mayonnaise which wasn't enough to impart any extra flavour to the heavily scattered mustard seeds that accompanied the soy vinaigrette

Vegetable tempura
Finally a hot dish - all the vegetables were cooked perfectly and the tempura batter was crisp. Between the pumpkin, sweet potato and eggplant, it was hard to choose a favourite as I've always preferred these vegetables tempura-ed than others, like capsicum or carrot.

Sushi and Sashimi
It always makes me ponder when food comes out in servings of three when it's a table of two. It's not that I have a problem with sharing but it doesn't seem fair that someone might miss out or if you're in a bigger group of people after everyone's eaten their share, the odd piece ends up uneaten out of politeness.

As I was saying... The sushi rolls weren't particularly thrilling. The piece with wrapped in the nori was dry and gave the impression it was a cut off from a larger sushi roll that didn't get sold during the day. But I think that wasn't the case since I tend push my imagination. Unfortunately, the nigiri sushi was a bit ordinary when comparing it to the aburi nigiri we had earlier, it was temping to ask if the chef could flame torch it. 

The sashimi pieces of salmon, kingfish and tuna were categorised as a separate course despite being brought out together. They were fresh and chilled. But I was again, thinking I would have much preferred if they flamed them too. 

Salmon teriyaki
Just as we sat down at the table before the start of our meal, we were given the choice for the main, salmon teriyaki or chicken teriyaki. Overlooking the servings of three, the salmon was nicely cooked and the terriyaki sauce wasn't too salty or sweet. Even though all the courses thus far were designed to share, by the time the main arrived we were full and the presence of three rather large pieces of fish seemed daunting.
Black sesame and Green tea ice cream
The final meal of the night was also decided by us, either black sesame or green tea ice cream. One of each had to be ordered because I dislike black sesame and love green tea and my partner is vice versa, so what could be better? The green tea ice cream... That's what could've been better. It was a bit of a disappointment because I had been craving for it and the flavour was lacking - it didn't taste like anything. I tried some of the black sesame for comparison and it was very flavoursome - it even had the char taste that I sometimes associate with black sesame.  

All-in-all I was definitely glad I had the opportunity to visit Angry Fish as there were certainly highlights throughout the courses that made the meal worthwhile. I could not get enough of the aburi nigiri sushi we had that is worth returning for. I believe that the Groupon voucher is still running so I do recommend it despite some of my comments. It's great value for a generous ten-course meal with drinks.  

Angry Fish

130 Willoughby Road,
Crows Nest

9438 4900

Angry Fish on Urbanspoon

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