Friday, June 24, 2011

[Kingscliff] Fins at Salt

FINS Restaurant & Bar
5/6 Bells Blvd
Salt Village
Sth Kingscliff
NSW 2487
Tel: +61 2 6674 4833

I can't wait to write about FINS. But I need to clear the backlog posts in chronological order or I am not going to be bothered about writing them ever again.

Now Fins? Steven Snow? Never heard? Snow's restaurant is in fact one hatted and he is a regular on the local lifestyle TV and regularly featured in local lifestyle magazine. You can read all about him and the restaurant's awards on the website.

Bad seafood experiences of the last two meals meant I craved for anything other than seafood. On the day we visited, there was no poultry or red meat on the menu, it was ALL seafood. We decided against dining at Fins after perusing the menu which changes all the time depending on produce.

Proceeded to other adjoining restaurants but the menu did not excite me, in fact, somewhat pedestrian. After some thought, we decided to go back to Fins.

We were seated promptly and caught glimpse of Steve Snow before he disappeared into the kitchen.

Princess saw him and asked, 'is that Matt Moran?' Haha, not every bald chef is Matt Moran darling. She knows all the Masterchef/junior masterchef/MKR contestants/judges/celebrity chefs' names. The 6 year old has a very fine palate who regularly gorges on macaron and drink regular coffee (not babycino, too weak she said, no taste kakakaka) and wanting to taste everything on sample offer at the market.

The dining room is housed under an awning extended to the restaurant and decked out like a garden with trellis of flowers on pillars and pots of plant/bush (real) dotted around the dining area. Come nightfall the dining room is very dark, some might find it romantic but its not to my taste. I prefer modern/contemporary clean decor.

Portuguese bacalhau balls and aioli
Amuse bouche - Portuguese bacalhau ball and aioli
Princess got this and it was gone so quick before I had a chance to ask for a taste. Not even the aoili was spared. She dropped some small chunks onto the plate while busy shoving it into her mouth and I quickly popped in my mouth. Smoky and sovoury with a light and crunchy coating. It was very good.

Sashimi on daikon pickle
Sashimi of fresh, local fish of the day on daikon pickle

The sashimi was beautiful, however, the sweet taste was somewhat masked by the heavy pickle underneath. In my opinion, a few shreds of the pickle would have been plenty.

Bread with capsicum jam
Entree - heart breads char grilled bio-dynamic sourdough, handmade and wood-fired in Byron Bay with house made capsicum, tamarind and mild chilli jam.

Hands down the BEST bread I have eaten so far, even the sourdough made from milled ancient Normandy heirloom wheat comes a close second.

The jam packed a punch without being too hot. I tried replicate the jam at home using capsicum, tomatoes, chillies and process it like a harissa paste. The taste was quite close.

Kids fish&chips
Kid's fish and chips

I don't really want to repeat myself and sound cheesy but the chips are hands down the BEST I have ever tasted (and now I hanker after Heston's version after watching it on Masterchef, could it get better than this?). They were crunchy like a dream and inside is like creamy and fluffy mashed potatoes. The chips somehow tasted like the sea. I suspect they sprinkled something like a chicken salt but the seafood version which complements the exquisitely fried fish to a tee.

Again, BEST fish and chips ever. We haven't been back to Fishmonger's Wife since. I only want to come back here for fish and chips from the kid's menu.

Snowy's fish
With Riesling, lemon and parsley, green beans, cauliflower puree and local Dutch Cream potatoes

When this arrived, I am disappointed and secretly relieved this was not my order, the dish looked like something I can easily whipped up at home in like ten minutes. But oh ho, looks can be so deceiving. Nothing is ever blah, mediocre, pedestrian at FINS.

The fish was so fresh, cooked to perfection and flaked away with just a tease from the fork. The beans and potatoes and cauliflower puree tasted so sweet and earthy, they could have been just plucked or dug from the garden.

Every mouthful is like an orchestra playing, each element finding its own place harmoniously.

Chilli as anything
Mauritian style king prawn and fish sambal, lotus wrapped rice and green papaya salad

Here comes again.

Hands down the BEST prawn I have ever tasted. Mind you it may not be the sweetest or the biggest but the way they were cooked and flavoured is like an art, I think Mr Snow had done the prawns much more than justice. They died a beautiful death in the hands of a maeastro. The spanish mackerel was very good too, normally I shun mackerel, I practically ate the fish since forever, but this Spanish species were in a league of their own.

The chilli tasted like our assam curry but several notches above. I wanna to barge into the kitchen and bow to the man but I restrained. Kekekeke.

I got to say this dish is not without negative, for me at least. The papaya salad was tasty but I absolutely hate coriander. There was so much coriander in there, I gave up after two taste. What's worse is the coriander lingers in the mouth till the following morning!! Disaster! So Mr Snow should think about toning down the coriander, it just overpowers EVERTHING.

And the rice :-(, I am Asian and somewhat an expert when it comes to cooking rice. My two cents, the restaurant should consider using another type of rice and steam it less in the lotus leaf. The leaf imparted a bitter flavour to the rice probably from spending too much time in the steamer. Having said that, the rice was cooked nicely and they were fluffy.

With brûléed fresh figs, house made ice cream and organic raw cocoa
I don't want to comment on this, I only appreciate eating chocolate in tablets or bars or handmade chocolates forms. But Big King said they are nice. The fig is somewhat bland, I don't know its purpose on the plate. The ice-cream is creamy.

Another view

With ginger and finger lime syrup

And finally, please bear with me.

Hand down the BEST panna cotta I have eaten so far. The texture is like a dream, you gotta go try to believe it. The finger lime offered an interesting taste and texture and the syrup tied the panna cotta and crumble together. I didn't get to eat the crescent pastry. Princess' hand was too quick. It was gone as soon as the plate touched the table.
I can't wait to go back!


quop said...

wow sounds like this meal was so good that it was worth the bad meals you had to get through to eat this!

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