It may seem old-fashioned, but there’s nothing better than a classic seafood platter – at least according to Flying Fish Executive Chef, Peter Robertson. Read on to find out why share plates might be just the trick to making the most of The Star Sydney’s signature seafood restaurant.
We’ve partnered with delicious on a content series that uncovers the deeper stories behind some of The Star’s signature dining venues. In this piece, Peter Robertson – Executive Chef of Flying Fish at The Star Sydney shares insights on the Sydney dining scene’s newest trend – bite-sized serves.
Like trends across any other industry, food fads come and go with the seasons. Until recently, large, family-style shared plates were in vogue. Though Australian chefs are still favouring communal, group-friendly menus, many are now bucking the large plate trend in favour of daintier, bite-sized serves.
“I think it’s a really nice way to eat,” says Peter Robertson, Executive Chef at Flying Fish. “It’s conducive to a convivial atmosphere where you sit around and share things together as a group of friends.”
At Flying Fish, snack-sized bites feature across the menu, but the best way to get a taste of all of them is with the seafood platter. Featuring eight different dishes in one beautifully presented package, the dish is Robertson’s homage to the old-school platters commonly served at holidays and family gatherings, presented with a modern twist.
“When we rebranded Flying Fish a few years back, I wanted to revitalise the concept,” he says. “It’s essentially a really nice selection of well-done snacks.”
On the platter, you’ll find an array of fresh local seafood served in bite-sized forms. Options include raw appellation oysters with turmeric vinaigrette, a rotating selection of sashimi, grilled Shark Bay scallops with Sichuan dressing, and charcoal roasted Moreton Bay bugs with tangerine butter just to name a few.
“We’ve got a large fire pit at the restaurant and most of our seafood makes its way over the fire at some point,” says Robertson.
Some of the items can be ordered on their own, but a few are exclusive to the platter.
That said, if you’re after a more casual dining experience, there are plenty of snacky items available a la carte. The restaurant’s extensive range of cooked and raw oysters are a great place to start. If you’re a purist, get them raw. Otherwise, try the Mornay, which sees them cooked with bechamel, Comte and breadcrumbs, or the Kilpatrick, topped with Worcestershire, hot sauce and prosciutto.
There’s also fried calamari, caviar served on hash browns with clotted cream, and the ultimate bite-sized morsel – Flying Fish’s beloved prawn toast with sweet and sour sauce.
“It’s our take on the classic 80s prawn toast made with the best prawns you can get,” says Robertson. ‘It’s been on the menu since day one and we can’t take it off.”
While the seafood platter is great for groups, petite, stand-alone bites like this are ideal as a cocktail hour nibble. Robertson has also seen diners pair a few snacks and drinks as a light dinner before seeing a performance at the Sydney Lyric Theatre, conveniently located right next to the restaurant at The Star Sydney.
“A stop by Flying Fish is ideal pre-show because most of the performances kick off pretty early,” says Robertson. “It’s not a huge time commitment. You’re in and out in half an hour.”
As the weather cools, indoor activities like live theatre performances are a great way to cosy up for the evening. Coincidentally, it’s also the best time of year to indulge in local seafood.
“It’s a bit counterintuitive,” says Robertson. “You think of summer and seafood but when the water temperature drops a little bit, the fish put on a bit of extra fat. We see our seafood in the best condition through autumn and winter.”
Bite-sized dining can take many forms and utilise many ingredients, but Flying Fish proves that it’s particularly appropriate for seafood, complementing the ingredients’ delicate nature and allowing patrons to sample the best of the season.
Over the years, this preparation method has fluctuated in popularity. But Robertson believes it’s much more than just a passing fad.
“Food and fashion evolve quite regularly but it’s always sort of been there,” he says. “If you look back to when tasting menus were everything, they’re all little bite-sized snacks. All the chefs are quite geared up to do it already. I think it’s an easy transition.”
He adds that the serving style has been a fixture of domestic cooking and entertainment for ages, therefore it translates well in a restaurant setting.
“People do it at home all the time,” he says. “There’s just something that’s nice and friendly about that experience.”
Though it may bring to mind oven-baked mini quiches and sausage rolls or mediocre function canapes, Robertson hopes that he can open people’s minds to the sophistication and diversity of bite-sized dining –perhaps while also appealing to their nostalgia.
If you want to get a taste of Flying Fish’s seafood-centric snacks for yourself, pop in on Tuesday through Friday for dinner, or any time on Saturday – book here. This article originally appeared on the delicious. website here.