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Monday, February 02, 2009

Ocean Room, Sydney

Soft shell crab tacos
Spiced, crispy fried served with pickled vegetables and crispy wafers

EDIT: Ocean Room has now closed

Soft shell crab tacos. You may as well substitute those four words with "heaven in every mouthful". And whilst soft shell crab seem to be as ubiquitous as pork belly on restaurant menus, I think that Raita Noda's version is one of the best.

Once his signature dish at former restaurant Rise (a dish I first tried in 2004), the soft shell crab taco accompanied Noda's move to Ocean Room. I'm so glad it did. The crunch of the deep fried soft shell crab is magnified by the brittle crispness of "taco". Delicate shreds of pickled cucumber and daikon provide textural softness and acidic contrast. The peppery heat of the spiced crab is countered by the dab of mayonnaise and briney opulence of salmon roe.

Wasabi prawn
Crispy fried king prawn with wasabi aioli and fried wasabi mayonnaise

We'd ended up at Ocean Room following the drinks and nibbles session at The Loft held by blog advertising company Nuffnang Australia. Company co-founder Cheo Ming Shen had flown in from Malaysia, and by the time drinks were over, we were all hungry for dinner. It was good fortune for him that he had a group of food bloggers still remaining to ask for restaurant suggestions. It was good fortune for us that he offered to treat us all!

Bang-bang-ji chicken $17.00
Steamed chicken fillet with spicy sesame sauce and cucumber salad

The waitstaff noticed me peering intently towards the direction of the kitchen and when asked, confirmed that Noda was indeed working tonight and let him know. Friendly yet self-effacing, Noda has a quick chat with our table, and then as if our night couldn't get any better, sends off two complimentary entrees to our table. The soft shell crab tacos and the wasabi prawns are two of the highlights of the evening.

Cured ocean trout $19
Barely spice cured with Parmigiano ice cream
and preserved lemon salsa

A table of food bloggers is always a sight to behold, and with five cameras in action there's plenty of frantic chaos with the arrival of each dish.

Anchovies and tomato sorbet $16
Marinated anchovies
with smoked vine-ripened tomato sorbet and croutons

Sushi and sashimi indulgence $39
Collection plate of today's market fresh sushi and sashimi

Salt and five pepper king prawns $39
Wok fried with sea salt and Ocean Room's five peppercorns blend

Roasted tuna wing $38
Slow roasted served with ponzu dipping sauce
and micro green salad

The roasted tuna wing is quite a sight to behold. The smoky flavour of the wings is even better when doused with the slightly sweet ponzu and rice vinegar dipping sauce.

Ocean's Eleven $29
Eleven sashimi shooters all with different flavours and combinations

Ocean's Eleven is a catchy name for a journey under the sea. It's a journey that includes two versions of tuna and ocean trout, as well as mouthfuls of kingfish, rock oyster, scallop, bar cod, crystal prawn, cuttlefish and trevally.

Daily fish fillet $36
Grilled or pan seared market fresh fillet

Wagyu meat pie $38
Barossa shiraz slow blazed wagyu cheek meat pie
with baked tomato sauce

The wagyu meat pie is rich and decadent, chunky cubes of melt-in-the-mouth beef swaddled in a rich red wine gravy.

Black Angus beef steak $39
Grilled 20-days aged sirloin
with truffle butter and creamy potato mash

Dry aged prime rib (for two) $75
Maldon salt and pepper crusted 40-days dry aged beef
with accompaniments

Dry aged prime rib is designed for carnivores. The dish doesn't appear large at first, but each slice of beef is as thick as a doorstop. This could probably feed three with entrees.

Flounder basket $36
Crispy fried New Zealand yellow belly flounder fillets
in herb mixed salad basket

I'd chosen the flounder basket and I'm so glad I did. A variation on his deep-fried baby snapper salad, this is the best kind of salad you could hope for. A whole flounder is filleted close to the bone, the fillets clad in an bubbled tempura batter, the fish skeleton deep-fried to form an edible crunchy basket. The deep-fried tail is the best bit. A mixed herb salad, topped with a sprinkling of salmon roe, enlivens the dish.

Autumn truffle french fries $12
with sliced truffle

Iceberg letuce and nori salad $9
with soy vinaigrette

Feeling hungry yourself? Don't forget that you have until Feburary 20, 2009 to enter the Grab Your Fork competition to win a $200 dinner voucher for two at Ocean Room. Enter now. Enter here.

View Larger Map
Ocean Room on Urbanspoon

Ocean Room CLOSED
Ground level, Overseas Passenger Terminal
Circular Quay West, The Rocks, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9252 9585

Lunch Tuesday to Friday from 12pm
Dinner Monday to Saturday from 6pm
Late night dining until 12am Friday and Saturday

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Ocean Room NYE Cocktail Party (Jan08)
Ocean Room (Oct06)
Ocean Room Cooking Demonstration with Raita Noda (Oct06)
15 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 2/02/2009 09:43:00 pm


  • At 2/02/2009 10:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    X| I am so jealous of you guyyyss!! What a great spread of seafood and meat! They all look like highlights to me mmmm *drool*

  • At 2/02/2009 10:31 pm, Blogger shez said…

    Oh! That looks so yummy... and such a perfect place to take an out of towner!

  • At 2/02/2009 11:24 pm, Blogger Simon said…

    The food at the Ocean Room looks soooo good!

    I wonder what the logistics are like when it comes to multiple food bloggers writing about the same meals, in the same restaurant at the same time.

    Does everyone play nice and allow for plenty of time to take good photos and share ideas as to how to best write about the food? Or, do things get competitive, with people mysteriously rushing off to the bathroom with their blackberry to be the first to post an update? Perhaps cast errant shadows that would ruin an otherwise perfectly lit shot?

    Ok, maybe that's a little over-dramatic but still.

  • At 2/03/2009 10:04 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That looks like an incredible spread. If only I'd gone but alas plans were already made for that night... How were the truffled fries and the iceberg salad?

  • At 2/03/2009 12:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yum, yum, yum, all very good choices.

  • At 2/03/2009 2:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's great that you got to meet the chef. He must be nice to send you entrees :)

  • At 2/03/2009 5:25 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi FFichiban - It was a great night. Food, friends and free - how can you go wrong?

    Hi Shez - Ocean Room is a great spot. The walk there was very scenic!

    Hi Simon - I think you'd be underwhelmed by how little competition there is. I don't think anyway updates their blog via Blackberry and there is definitely no sabotage!

    In fact it's more like a great group of friends having a great meal with lots of laughter. There's usually some conversational deconstruction of our meal but there's always plenty of patience when it comes to enabling photos (courtesy goes both ways!).

    Hi Lorraine - A shame you missed out. Don't you hate diary clashes? We were quite full by the time the sides arrived. I was surprised I couldn't taste more truffle in the fries. The salad was very simple but crisp and fresh.

    Hi Veruca Salt - We did a good job covering much of the menu. It was a great meal indeed.

    Hi Arwen - Raita is lovely. He's always very accommodating and yes, we were very appreciative of his hospitality.

  • At 2/03/2009 7:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    loooks so good especially the dish u had.. fish w/ salad.. nice!!!

  • At 2/03/2009 7:18 pm, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    Very true Helen! Us foodbloggers really are just friends having a great time! We're just lucky that us bloggers get along so well!

    I don't think we even talk about blogging together - we rather eat and have a laugh! We're always accommodating with photos and tastetests and there's no race...everybody posts when they can and everybody writes what they write ...competition not necessary :)

    Great post Helen! i'm still dreaming of the soft shell crab and your flounder! We must do it again :)

  • At 2/04/2009 12:53 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Looking forward to coming back here - the Ocean's 11 was divine.

    I love this place - there's nothing not to like - divine food, view and atmosphere.

    Lucky you, Helen, for eating here as many times as you have!

  • At 2/04/2009 8:58 am, Blogger Simon said…

    Thanks for the insight. Sounds like a charmed lifestyle to lead (especially the free food part).

    I had a read through some of the other blogs on the same event and found the differences in perspective and photos quite interesting, especially the photo of assault on the tuna wing on Boss Ming's blog. Very funny :)

  • At 2/04/2009 11:51 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Kay - I think the fact it was fried meant it was particularly good :)

    Hi Karen - Yep food blogging is all about celebrating like-minded souls. Always fun!

    Hi Divemummy - The Ocean's 11 was a great combo of tastes, and I'm sure you won't have trouble convincing hubby to go again!

    Hi Simon - The great thing about blogging is that its accessible to everyone. As you say, the personal perspective is part of the joy. Perhaps its time you started your own :)

  • At 2/07/2009 2:41 am, Blogger Anna (Morsels and Musings) said…

    sounds like a brilliant evening.

    that's where my hubby works too ;)

  • At 2/07/2009 11:14 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Soft Shell Crab Tacos !! Drewllll !

  • At 2/08/2009 11:11 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anna - Oh yes I forgot about that! I should've seen if he was working too!

    Hi Peter - Soft shell crabs are right up there with roast pork belly - totally droolworthy!


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