Aside from pork, fish and seafood is front and centre in Chinese cuisine. Just go to a Chinese wedding and you will feast on an abundance of abalone, lobster and steamed fish, granted the selection is not always pro-sustainability. We’re also very particular about our seafood. After having dined on many a seafood dish at a bounty of restaurants a few years ago that were overcooked to the point where the albumin rears its ugly head – I had taken an oath to veer away from seafood and stuck with my steak frites and duck confit.
But when Fishbar first opened its doors and having read many rave reviews about it, I decided to give it a try. To make my experiment much more fruitful was the fact that the restaurant is Ocean Wise certified which means that you’re supporting sustainable fishing. (You can read my initial review here).
Being a food blogger, it takes awhile for me to circle back to tried-and-true favourites because shiny and new restaurant reviews always get lots of eyeballs. I had been meaning to revisit Fishbar after having seen tweets about B.Y.O.W Wednesdays, where for a $2 minimum donation to Ocean Wise you can bring your own wine. But considering that corking fees start at $20, I encourage you all to give generously.
When my foodie friends over at View the Vibe invited me to preview the new Spring/Summer menu and to celebrate the 2 year anniversary of Fishbar – I just couldn’t resist.
While the fried smelts and lobster mac ‘n cheese (temporarily retired from the menu) didn’t make an appearance, I was introduced to some new favourites.
Owners William Tavares and Renata Andreazza were great hosts and provided explanations of each of the dishes we sampled. In addition to the delicious seafood samplings we sipped on a stiff Octopussy Martini (eating the vodka-soaked oyster is not optional), and a few great wines.
Before sitting down to dinner we noshed on a selection of Malpeques and Village Bay oysters.
White Anchovy crostini with caramelized onions, olive & lemon gremolata ($10) – This was a well-balanced trio of salty, sweet and citrus; loved noshing on these while sipping on a glass of Portuguese 2011 Deu La Deu Alvarinho Vinho Verde.
Tuna Sashimi with mango soy glaze, toasted almond, mango and seasame salad ($14) – The vibrant colours of this fruit leather-esque dish was only a teaser to its taste. A light, refreshing dish that would be perfect in the summer. It’s great to see sashimi presented differently than your usual Japanese restaurant fare.
Spiced Lentil Salad with lobster crème fraîche, micro greens and crispy papadum. This was definitely the most unique dish and texturally impressive. Large chunks of lobster, soft lentils and crispy papdum (Indian origin, and are traditionally made with lentils, black gram, chickpeas and rice flour).
Pacific Salmon Tartare with pickled ginger & cucumber, tempura white onions, basil aioli ($13) – Yes, another raw fish dish. What can I say? When the fish is fresh, this is the best way to eat it? While the tempura-battered onions were a tad oily, the tartare really brightened the palate.
Baja Diver Scallops with apple butter, Pancetta crisp ($18) – The biggest scallops I’ve ever seen, perfectly browned with Pancetta instead of your usual boring bacon, fatty pork belly and some apple butter to cut the richness and salt. Yummy!
Grilled Maple Miso glazed Salmon with asparagus tips & sweet pea butter sauce ($16) – Perfectly tender and flaky salmon with a nice sweet glaze made this dish a hit. Nothing worse than eating a maple Miso glazed salmon that is drowning in syrup. This one was just right.
Sicilian Gnocchi with Spot prawns, shitake mushrooms, arugula, white wine, garlic ($16) – Not your average gnocchi! This had the mouth-feel of a Korean rice cake and was less starchy, but I totally loved it!
We also sampled a dessert trio consisting of a gelato, deconstructed Tiramisu (with whole coffee beans tossed in sugar – amazing!) and my favourite, Lemon Curd Parfait ($9). All this with a glass of Quinta Serra d’Ordens White Porto, which was not too sweet and just right.
A special thanks to View the Vibe and Fishbar for having me. I will most definitely have to come back for the Fishbar Taco (halibut & shrimp ceviche, guacamole, birds eye chili, corn tortilla), a customer favourite.