July 2010

Chilly waters mean bountiful supplies of local fish as well as some from New Zealand. From across the ditch comes snapper, which you’ll find on menus everywhere. It’s at Essen, filleted, grilled and served with cannellini beans, fennel, olives and tomato. At Universal they steam goldband snapper and, even though some of the accompaniments are the same, the spin is quite different. Here, it’s with Iberian ham, green lentils, fennel, blood orange and black olives. And Pilu bakes a whole baby snapper in the oven with Vernaccia wine and green olives.

Swordfish is scarce, but what’s around is good quality. Universal roasts and teams it with spiced coconut, blue swimmer crab and green mango salsa.

Pacific oyster season has started and they’re particularly good from Tasmania at the moment. In one of its lighter courses, Universal uses them in a tempura with asparagus, taro, edamame and wasabi avocado. There's an abundance of school prawns from the Hastings and Clarence Rivers and you’ll find them floured and fried at Perama with calamari and lemon ouzo mayonnaise.

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