Food bloggers’ dinner at Garfish Manly, 14 March 2011

The weather had taken a cool turn during the day and the wind was picking up. The sky was greying and I started to suspect this was some cruel conspiracy of nature, as my last visit to Garfish Manly had been met with similar weather conditions. All we needed now was some rain.

photo supplied by The Digital Marketing Agency

Luckily the rain held out and the skies stayed clear enough for us to admire the relaxing ocean views from Garfish Manly’s private dining room, where a group of Sydney food bloggers are gathered for a tasting of Garfish’s autumn menu. Glasses of ‘Geppetto’ brut help to warm us up as well as break the ice for those who don’t know each other.

Canapé-sized versions of entrée dishes are served to showcase greater variety alongside the Three Ponds semillon, a variety of wine for which I’m gaining an increased interest in recent years. Cubes of ‘Treacle cured yellowfin tuna’ are a deep maroon hue and are dusted on either side with bonito powder, negating any slippery textures when placed in the mouth. Mistress, my date for the evening, hits the nail on the head when she describes its complex flavours being akin to Chinese master stock. The ‘Atlantic salmon tartare’ contrasts the tuna with its bright shades of orange and coral. Delicate diced salmon is served on ceramic soup spoons, concealing Persian fetta which offers creaminess, with fennel confit, citrus dressing, an orange segment and salmon roe providing refreshing crunch. ‘Crisp fried zucchini flowers’, served with a sumac dipping sauce, hold centres of smoked hiramasa kingfish which are pleasantly meaty and a change from the usual soft, mousse-y fillings. I do miss the crunch of the mini-zucchini stems which are normally attached to the flowers however.

Conversation halts when our entrées of ‘Seared Hervey Bay scallops with fennel remoulade, orange reduction and bacon crumbs’ are presented and paired with ‘The Zeppelin’, a fruity Riesling from South Australia. We are told the fennel remoulade is dressed with lemon juice which seems to temper its aniseed undertones. Its crunchiness contrasts well with the plump and smooth scallops.

Wafts of shellfish aroma fill the dining room and we are completely silent as we tuck into ‘Prawn and scallop cannelloni with white beans, grilled cherry tomatoes, Avruga caviar and shellfish bisque’. The prawn and lobster bisque is fragrant and light, unlike most which are thicker and creamier, lending itself well to the steamed – not braised, nor baked – cannelloni with housemade pasta. This is also where the sourdough on our table becomes a handy tool for mopping up the beautiful bisque.

Our assiette of desserts consist of a slow-baked hazelnut pavlova which is wonderfully chewy in the centre, a smooth nougat and honey semifreddo with passionfruit coulis, and a baby version of Garfish’s signature Belgian waffles served with caramelised banana and rum & raisin ice-cream. Paired with the not-too-sticky dessert wine, Cookoothama botrytis semillon, it is a sweet end to an enjoyable evening.

Earth Hour 2011
This Saturday, apart from the New South Wales state election (don’t forget to vote!), it is also Earth Hour. As per last year, all Garfish restaurants will be participating by offering a dine-by-candlelight experience which adds a romantic touch to the underlying environmental cause.

Mademoiselle Délicieuse and Mistress dined as guests of Garfish Manly and The Digital Marketing Agency. Thank you to the lovely waitstaff and to executive chef Stewart Wallace for taking the time to introduce each of the dishes to us.

1/39 East Esplanade (cnr Wentworth St), Manly NSW
Tel: (02) 9977 0707

Opening Hours:  Mon-Sat  12pm-3pm (lunch)
  5:30pm-10pm (dinner)
                        Sun  12pm-3pm (lunch)
                                5:30pm-9pm (dinner)

Garfish on Urbanspoon

happy eating!


  1. Umm I distinctly remember the absolute dead silence when everybody was eating the main with the bisque. Kinda awkward that nobody was talking but I'll take it as a sign that the dish was just too good.

    And how delish was the waffle and rum 'n' raisin ice cream?

  2. I love dining by candlelight! I wonder how many restaurants will be participating? It'll be great to be in the city when it starts.

  3. Wow...looks fabulous. Dayle

  4. oh, waffles make me happy.

  5. Looks like an awesome meal! The cannelloni and the cute little mini waffles both look fantastic!

  6. dining by candlelight hey. that's a creative way to celebrate earth hour

    I remember the first year it came to sydney, we celebrated by walking through the city throwing our peach pits at all the office buildings that still had their lights on

  7. I could do with some of that semifreddo right now :)

    It was lovely meeting you and Mistress that night.

  8. All looks so lovely, hazelnut pav, ooooooo yum.

  9. the scallops are beautfilly presented.. wonder how it tasted yum!

  10. Everything is so well presented. Food is a good ice breaker for sure.

  11. YUM! All the food looks delish! I so should not be reading this now!!

  12. the food looks yummeh!! u guys are lucky to be invited

  13. Garfish is a fave of my mum and dad's and I can see why. What an amazing spread!

  14. Yep, the bisque ruled the night.. although I didn't mind the dessert.

    Shockingly cold night tho!

  15. I'm very very intrigued aBout the treacle cured tuna! The cannelloni just looks so uniting and the desserts.. So superb! I def go for the adults version of the waffle! Although 6 or so baby sized ones will do me fine!

  16. Hey Karen, haha, totally absorbed in enjoying the dish, yes!

    Hey Joey, something so romantic about the notion of dining by candlelight!

    Hey gbf, thanks!

    Hey Laura, and mini-waffles! *squee*

    Hey Jacq, the cannelloni was different but so good! And mini anything is always so cute.

    Hey grace, now now, don't encourage any throwing of things at windows or starting riots, ok?

    Hey Dumpling Girl, definitely one of the better semifreddos I've tried.

    Hey Sara, a dessert selection always feels so much more indulgent than one full-sized dessert!

    Hey Dolly, I always wonder what happens to all the salt which is used for the presentation scallops or oysters...

    Hey penny, in our case, the food was also a good conversation-breaker!

    Hey April, hope your jaw is healing up well and that you'll be back on solids soon!

    Hey sugarpuffi, also a great chance to meet some new people =)

    Hey Mardi, love the freshness of everything each time I dine at any of the Garfish restaurants.

    Hey Thang, a whole bowl of that bisque, please!

    Hey Gianna, the tuna was definitely interesting with a distinct sweet but not sugary flavour. The cannelloni stole the show though!


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