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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Nick's Seafood Restaurant, Darling Harbour

Roast rack of lamb $33.00
with minted potatoes, pea puree and sage jus

I can see the boys are bonding.

J and N are partners of food bloggers. They've only just met, but they have so much in common already.

We're at Nick's Seafood Restaurant in Darling Harbour and a gaggle of food bloggers are wishing bon voyage over lunch for a self proclaimed foodaholic.

There's a small commotion at the table as our dishes arrive. Cameras are whipped out of handbags. Plates are rotated. Dishes are swapped around the table. The boys roll their eyes at each other. They know the drill. They wait silently, torturously, despite their grumbling stomachs.

Our waiter is somewhat bemused, but doesn't comment on the swooping descent of lenses as each dish touches down on the expanse of thick white linen.

"Can we eat now?" J pleads after two, eleven, three minutes.

I sneak in another photo.

Grilled salmon tail $31.00
with bell pepper, saffron and parmesan pilaf

Somewhat predictably, the boys have both gone for meat dishes; the girls have all stuck with seafood.

The roast rack of lamb perches impressively amidst a ring of minted potatoes, peeled whole and roasted. The pea puree is a brilliant green, a thick chunky paste daubed generously over lamb that glistens with caramelised fat. It's tender, J confirms, although he struggles slightly with his standard issue knife, trying to carve through the cutlets.

Grilled salmon tail is an enormous chunk of fish, the skin scored and seared to a shattering crisp. A parmesan pilaf sits next to it, compacted into a mini-tower.

Vongole and crab meat pasta $29.50
in a parmesan, tomato and pesto sauce

You could feed a fullback with the vongole and crab meat pasta, a mountain of linguine that's topped generously with parmesan, chives and finely diced tomato. The portion is so enormous that Suze implores everyone to have a taste. The pasta is pleasantly al dente but I find the pungency of the pesto overwhelms the delicate sweetness of the crab.

Kangaroo fillet with oysters $31.00
(usual prawns substituted for oysters due to allergy)
with tomato chutney and char-grilled herb polenta

The kitchen is very accommodating with N's prawn allergy, substituting three plump oysters instead to accompany his plump strips of kangaroo fillet.

Whole baby barramundi grilled $29.00

But you can't go to Nick's without trying the seafood. Three of us order from the fish menu and all are fresh and tasty, even if they do appear a little sad and lonely on the plate on their own.

Salmon fillet grilled $30.00
with chips or salad

That's because the chips and salad arrive in separate oval-shaped boats. This neccessitates the messy transfer of salad/chips to your plate to keep your fish company, a sporadic forkful throughout your meal, or a big salad hoedown at the start or end of your meal.

We can't complain about the fish though. They're all seared nicely, sporting summery golden tans, and cooked to a fork-flaking moistness. My serving of snapper is small but sweet.

The cameras are back in handbags, long since forgotten.

The boys are happy.

It's time to eat.

Snapper fillet grilled $32.00
with chips or salad

Nick's Seafood Restaurant
The Promenade
Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9264 1212

Open 7 days for lunch and dinner

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Nick's Bondi Beach Pavilion
12 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/11/2007 09:44:00 pm


  • At 7/12/2007 7:48 am, Blogger Julie said…

    Stop! Stop!, I'm drooling. Everything looks so delicious. I should not have looked at your blog on an empty stomach.

  • At 7/12/2007 9:21 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    The lamb looks so good. The seafood looks very sparse and a tad expensive.
    I was surprised to see salmon tail. I know it's tasty but it doesn't seem very upmarket item to have on Nick's menu.

  • At 7/12/2007 10:35 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen,

    You should try out Cafe XXII in Pyrmont (behind Star City). They change their menu daily , except for their signature dishes that remains there always.
    The calamari is to die for and their fish dishes are the best I've had ! Moist and sweet...*drool* The price is much more reasonable than Nicks, the serving size is good too ^_^ Try it :)(oh, and if they happen to have sticky date pudding on the dessert menu, must try !)

  • At 7/12/2007 10:49 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yummo. The lamb looks divine. i'm hungry already and it's only 10.30 am. Went to Blancmange last night. photos and review available at http://www.myspace.com/simonleong i noticed it seems you haven't been there yet. if you like oscillate wildy for food and value then blancmange in petersham has it too without the booking problems and with a better restaurant fit out and more space to move. will have to try nick's soon.

    simon :-)

  • At 7/12/2007 11:05 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    *laughs* good times good times! it was nice to be able to talk to everyone becos of smaller group hope we get together again!

  • At 7/13/2007 12:38 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Julie - Apologies :) I feel the same way when I'm blogging on an empty stomach (and I know exactly how good much of the food tasted too!).

    Hi Veruca Salt - I was surprised by the salmon tail too. It was a nice chunk too. Mmm.... and yes the lamb was quite spectacular.

    Hi Monica - I find that you are definitely paying for the view along Cockle Bay, even more so on King Street Wharf. I haven't been to Cafe XXII yet but it sounds yum :)

    Hi Simon Leong - I had been meaning to get to Manna for a while. Now it's Blancmange and I'm still curious to try it. Thanks for the reminder.

    Hi chocolatesuze - I'm always available for fooding! And chocolate too!

  • At 7/13/2007 11:50 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Spent many a credit card lunch at Nicks. Their specials list often surprises me, because they are always exactly the same. I've been going for five years, and every time I go there is special whiting.

  • At 7/13/2007 9:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The lamb looks excellent, but as veruca said the portions don't look that great. The last time I went there with friends the fish dishes were disappointingly tiny, though the monster ~$120 platter was good!

    The photos are great as always, but the focus on the background for the kangaroo makes the pic look a bit odd as my eye is drawn to the very nicely arranged but OOF oysters! Nice bokeh however.

  • At 7/13/2007 11:53 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Mr_Gimlet - Always the same specials? That's not so special then, is it? That is a little odd.

    Hi Kini - Yeah I wasn't happy with the kangaroo pic but it was the best of what I had. The perils of rapid photography of other people's meals whilst jostling four others cameras :)

  • At 7/14/2007 2:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    sweet. I miss the food in Syd as much as I missed Malaysian food when I was there.

  • At 7/15/2007 1:48 am, Blogger Kat said…

    I've always wondered about food photography etiquette. Hubby doesn't normally mind unless we're in an upmarket restaurant, and then he gets embarrassed and tries to look like he's posing for the picture, even though the camera is clearly pointed at the table.

  • At 7/16/2007 5:54 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Swee - The grass is always greener..... :)

    Hi kat o+ - lol. I see it happening quite often these days at other tables. And why not? :)


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