Sunday, 27 January 2013

Jellyfish - down by the river

After writing a post recently about Lure and lamenting the lack of fine dining fish restaurants in Brisbane, I was inspired to get back to my favourite fine dining fish restaurant Jellyfish.  I say 'get back to' because I had not been to Jellyfish lately and upon reflecting about this, it had been well over two years since my last meal there.

 There was a time when Jellyfish was my favourite restaurant in Brisbane and SC and I were pretty much regulars, eating there a couple of times a month for quite a while.  Then my new favourite came along, Confit Bistro,  and I pretty much moved on.

Jellyfish is located on the Brisbane river at the Eagle Street Precinct and was unfortunately badly hit by the 2011 floods.  It was quite ironic that our visit back to Jellyfish coincided with another bad rain event, but this time (touch wood) there won't be the same impact on the restaurant.

Jellyfish is getting a bit of media at the moment with Executive Chef Rhett Willis currently (at the time of writing this post) completing on Masterchef the Professionals.  Jellyfish currently holds a Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) Chefs Hat and with Rhett at the helm also picked up the 'Best New Restaurant' for Jellyfish in 2009.  Jellyfish was created by Brisbane restauranteur John Kilroy, a bit of a legend in the Brisbane dining scene, as a suitable offsider to his well known steak restaurant Cha Cha Char.

The menu at Jellyfish is fairly unique for a fine dining fish restaurant.  There is the usual a la carte option with entrees, mains and desserts, but added to this is a speciality fish menu that changes daily based on the fish caught fresh that day.  Usually there are 8 to 10 different fish options, each cooked a particular way with a specific sauce to accompany the selection.  You have the option of going with the recommended options, or mix and match if you choose.  I always go for this fish selection when at Jellyfish as my main!

Before we started with our meal, we had an amuse bouche delivered to the table, which was quite unexpected.  The small dish of crispy potato cubes with a miso mayonnaise was delicious, with beautifully crispy chips dusted with what tasted like paprika covered in miso mayonnaise.  What I really liked about this was the combination of flavours working really well with the textures, the crispy potato on the outside with wonderfully fluffy potato inside.

SC and I both wanted the same entree of Hervey Bay scallops, pickled garlic, chilli, lemon with sour dough crumbs, but after some discussion we agreed that SC would again take the scallop entree (shades of our Era experience all over again).  The scallops were well cooked in the half shell with a nice caramelisation covered with pickled garlic, chilli and lemon, which left a little heat in the mouth.  There were also a couple of clams included for good measure, which were nicely cooked also.  SC and I thought that this was a pretty nice dish, but agreed that it was not great value, with only 4 scallops and a couple of clams included for the price ($27.50).  We have always found this to be the case with the scallop entrees at Jellyfish, really nice but not great value.

My order of the salt and pepper squid, fino chorizo, lemon, parsley and aioli was a much more inspired choice (not shades of our Era experience after all).  The plate was packed with expertly cooked squid and baby octopus pieces, with wedges of lemon and chilli to give it some heat and acidity.  Most importantly the dish came with some delicious and well cooked chorizo that did not detract from the subtle flavours of the squid.  The plate was well balanced with plenty of sweet, sour and heat coming from the dish.  I really enjoyed this one and SC and I both agreed that I fared better out of our entree selections.

On to mains and both SC and I chose to select options from the specialist fish menu.  There was a wide variety of fish available on the menu including fish fillets and whole fish options (whole flounder and dory were available).  SC went for a recommended pairing of food and selected fillets of Mirror Dory cooked in a citrus crumb and accompanied with a lemon mayonnaise.   The beauty of choosing this way meant that we could swap some fillets, so I had a really good taste of the dory.  The fish was cooked to perfection and was moist and delicate, held together nicely with the citrus crumb.  The lemon mayonnaise was very rich, so not much was needed when eating the fish.  SC actually preferred the taste of the dory without the mayonnaise and added just a little squeeze of lemon juice to give some balance.  Really nice.

I made a bit of a tactical error with my combinations.  I chose the Mahi Mahi, which was listed as being grilled and being accompanied with a nori beurre blanc, but decided to have the fish cooked in a beer batter and accompanied by a lemon beurre blanc.  The problem with a beer batter is that it's really heavy and goes much better with a stronger flavoured fish like a Goldband Snapper.  Mahi Mahi is a mild fish and would have been better grilled.  That said, I really enjoyed the fish, but it was detracted by the thick batter, so I ended up just cutting around the batter to get to the fish.  I also love the lemon beurre blanc, but perhaps a bit of heat from the nori beurre blanc would have enhanced the flavours.

Because the mains only come with a sauce, we ordered a couple of sides to go with our fish.  The first side of cherry tomato, parmesan and white balsamic was perfect, with a lovely hit of acidity to cut through the fat of the fish and the sauces.  There were a heap of different styles and colours of tomatos and it was great that such a simple side could taste so wonderful.  The second side of freshly shucked peas, mint, Danish fetta and sherry vinegar added some lovely sweetness to the overall meal.  The two sides were a perfect combo with each other and the meal.

I again gave SC the option of her preferred dessert and, being Australia Day, she chose the Pavlova, with soft and hard meringue, mango, kiwi fruit and banana cream.  The pavlova looked an absolute treat on the plate, with layers of lovely meringue and piles of fruit placed on top.  The banana cream was an interesting choice, not one I have seen with a pavlova before, but it worked really well.  While not looking like your average pavlova, it tasted just like a pavlova should and SC really enjoyed it.

I was tossing up between a couple of the desserts but after a chat to the waitress I decided that the  Valrhona chocolate fondant, double cream and raspberries was the only way to go.  I was not disappointed, this dessert was spectacular.  After having a string of terrible fondants, I have struck gold with the last couple and this one was definitely the best I have had in a long long time.  It looked beautiful and tasted better.  After cracking open the fondant and watching the gooey chocolate ooze out, I knew I was in for a treat.  The quenelle of double cream (initially mistaken for ice cream) mixed perfectly with the hot oozing chocolate from the fondant.  The balance of the dessert was enhanced by the raspberries and coolis spread around the plate, wich added some appreciated tartness.  A superb way to finish off any meal.

I had always enjoyed eating at Jellyfish and it was only because we were distracted by a shiny new restaurant that we stopped going.   The service on the night was excellent with very helpful and friendly wait staff.  The restaurant was reasonably full considering there was a serious amount of rain coming down and there was a pretty good vibe happening.

My main issues with Jellyfish relate to the value for money.  Yeah, while the food is great and quite inventive, it is after all a fish restaurant.  Between the two of us, we spent just over $200 for the night, which puts Jellyfish into the premium fine diner range.  I would say that with a single hat and pretty nice food, it's good but not premium.  I would love to see just a little price drop and this place would be perfect.


Chocolate oozing out of the fondant - yum
Squid and Chorizo - a great combo
The tomato side was delicious and worked perfectly with the fatty fish and sauces
Jellyfish lamp shades in the bar area

Jellyfish Restaurant on UrbanspoonJellyfish RestaurantJellyfish Restaurant

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I hope that I can find an amazing restaurant in Halifax similar in excellence to the one you went to. Thank you so much for sharing!


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