50 Goodwin Terrace
Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
+61 7 5535 7725
Marty’s last girlfriend broke up with him after five months, presumably because he was too difficult to deal with. I, on the other hand, have been with him for two years. An achievement of this magnitude is surely a cause for celebration so after some nagging, I finally convinced Marty to ‘take me out for seafood’ during my last visit up to the ‘Coast (hmm on that note, maybe I’m the difficult one that he is the person who should be getting kudos and not me?)
I initially chose Omero Bros in Main Beach for this seafood fiesta but after hearing good things about The Fishhouse in Burleigh Heads, I changed my mind. And man, I’m so glad I did.
Marty booked a table right by the window so we can admire
surfers Burleigh Beach in all its sun-drenched beauty. While I appreciated the thought, the afternoon sun glare meant that most of my photos were masked in that ghastly sun glare. Note to partners of food bloggers: DO NOT book tables by the window when the weather is going to be this perfect! (#firstworldfoodbloggerproblems)
Owned by Simon Gloftis of Hellenika fame, The Fishhouse has only been around since 2012 but it is quietly but swiftly making ripples in Queensland food industry. Gloftis grew up eating heaps of seafood and wanted to show Gold Coastitutes what he could do with seafood at Hellenika – except that people kept ordering lamb there. Nekminit, out comes The Fishhouse. Gloftis’ aim here is to buy the best available seafood and create something delicious while ‘try[ing] not to mess with it too much.’ With head chef Aaron Smith manning the kitchen, the Fishhouse team delivers beautiful food with service that’s as friendly as a seal pup yet quick as a marlin.
We started off with some freshly baked bread and butter. Because the butter was so good, I initially thought that it was churned in-house. Imagine my surprise, then, when our lovely waiter told us that it was store-bought! Of course, this magically soft and creamy butter came from none other than Pepe Saya, the cultured butter specialists.
I know I was meant to limit my bread and butter intake but I couldn’t help but say ‘yes’ when the waiter asked us if we wanted more butter. It really was THAT good and once my 1kg block of Myrtleford butter is completely devoured, I will going straight to my nearest Pepe Saya stockist.
Because we were celebrating a special occasion, we decided to splurge on some caviar. Marty’s never had it and he wanted to try it because he wanted to boss it up for the day. Eh, why not? The Fishhouse sells Oscietra caviar from the Russian sturgeon at $140 for 30g. It’s not something that you’d eat every day for morning tea but today, we were all like YOLO, like, whatevs.
To eat the caviar, we scooped the little eggs up with a mother of pearl spoon and dabbled them onto a piece of blini. After we scooped up some crème fraiche to go with it, we bit into it, groaned in ecstasy and reached for a shot of chilled vodka. We were already having a ball – and we hadn’t even received our starters.
Marty’s starter was the seared baby calamari with tomato concasse, chilli and parsley ($22). The squid, from South Australia, was cut into beautiful curly ribbons, each of them perfectly cooked. You don’t need to be a chef to know that calamari is hard to get right so we were both impressed at how tender yet chewy the calamari was. Dressed in a light tomato concasse and a little bit of chilli for kicks and giggles, this was a lovely starter.
I went raw with the Petuna ocean trout from Macquarie Habour in Tasmania ($16). Drizzled with lemon and olive oil and garnished with dill, the trout set a benchmark for WOW. Marty and I have always loved raw fish but this dish was another level altogether. It was amazing and this crappy photo does not do it justice.
Marty’s main was the King George whiting from Port Lincoln, South Australia ($46). The fillets were lightly crumbed and pan roasted and man, they were delicious even without a squeeze of lemon.
While the fish was beautiful, I have to say that the homemade tartare sauce was the star of the show. Yes, I know that I sound sacrilegious but it’s true, we couldn’t get enough of that stuff. The sauce was creamy, fresh and punctuated with wonderfully fragrant herbs. If McDonalds ever discovered the recipe for THIS tartare sauce and slopped it on their Filet O’Fish burgers, I’d happily pay $10 a pop for them.
My coral trout from Cairns ($42) was beautiful but I have to say that it paled slightly in comparison to Marty’s whiting. Ugh, food envy much? Regardless, it was beautifully steamed in a fennel, lemon and olive oil emulsion. Given The Fishhouse’s focus on simplicity, I did think that the sauce was very flavoursome yet not enough that it overpowered the delicate flavour of the fish.
We were also given some sides. We were impressed with the baked potato gratin that looked very much like a potato lasagne, crispy edges and all.
Also decent were the green beans and heirloom carrots but the green salad (not pictured) was pedestrian.
We were full but Marty, being Marty, couldn’t leave without trying dessert. All I wanted was a scoop of ‘smoked ice cream’ (it was the only thing on the dessert menu that caught my eye) but Marty wanted to go all out. In the end, we decided to compromise: go the apple tarte tatin ($28) but instead of its default vanilla bean ice cream, we would ask for the smoked ice cream (offering to pay extra, of course). The waiter went one better – he’d give us the apple tarte tatin as it is but give us a scoop of smoked ice cream for free. Talk about brilliant service.
The apple tarte tatin was designed to feed two people (hence the price). I might have initially whinged about over-ordering but as soon as I sunk my chompers into the crispy, flaky pastry in all its sticky syrup drizzle, I thanked Marty profusely (in my head, of course – I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction). The pastry may have done it for me, but I also liked the Moorish apple filling which paired well with the smooth and silky vanilla bean ice cream.
And here is the house made smoked ice cream (normally $3.50). A previous customer told the restaurant that the flavour reminded them of roasted marshmallows and we had to agree – it was sweet but the slightly smoky flavour just added a whole new dimension to it. It reminded me of summer school camps, even though Total Fire Bans prevented us from having camp fires 95% of the time. Oh and how did they get the smoky flavour? Pu-erh tea, of course.
Our experience at The Fishhouse was borderline perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a better anniversary lunch than one with friendly laidback staff and some of the best food I’ve had on the Gold Coast accompanied by an unrivalled view of Burleigh Beach. As of now, The Fishhouse is officially my favourite restaurant on the Gold Coast.