12.44pm, Wednesday 2nd May, Hero of Waterloo, Windmill Street, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Morning, folks. Well, it’s lunch time, but I’ve just surfaced really, as I got into Sydney after midnight to check into the Observatory Hotel here in the heart of The Rocks. Why? Because we had a full house at Three Fish, top seafood grill house in the southern Sydney beachside suburb of Cronulla.
This is a bit fuzzy, but will give you a bit of an idea of the Rare & Fine-driven, serious wine appreciation session that was well under way last night at around 10pm.
Three Fish is owned by Chris (the Chef) and Maryann (everything else!), and the whole show was organised by our bloke “South of Sydney” Mitch Bate in conjunction with our mates from BottlO’Briens – the neat fine wine shop around the corner.
I started with an apology because I’m struggling a bit from some recent dental surgery – still got a hole an eighth of an inch across in the middle of my gum – and because of that, I seem to have developed a strong residual lisp! Not great with so much talking on the agenda this week and next, but the folks had a giggle at my Dentist jokes, and we were away!
Check this out just before being whisked away from the kitchen – ‘Tartlet of prawns, scallops and creamed onion, lemon beurre blanc and baby herbs’ – paired with the 2011 Organic Chardonnay, all fresh apples pears slightly smoky citrus and cream.
Oh, and before I forget, I’m writing my blog from one of my favourite watering holes – the “Hero Of Waterloo”, which is one of the few old pubs left in The Rocks that has changed very little since it was built from local block granite back in 1843. It’s tucked away on Lower Fort Street, just a short stroll back from The Harbour View, another favourite of mine, which sits in the shadow of the southern pylon anchor of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
But back to ThreeFish at Cronulla. The boys in the kitchen really did outdo themselves last night – nothing but bones went back in on those plates! Sorry about the quality of the photos – I think it was the romantic lighting – here’s the ‘Char grilled double lamb cutlet, lyonaise potatoes and minted pea puree’ that got serious oohs and ahs – especially from the boys! Boys do like lamb chops!
They were matched up with our lush berry middleweight Cabernet – the 2010 The Cigar – no grippy tannins, just smooth red berries that backs up with flavors all the promise of the aromatics. Nice stuff if I say so myself.
Staying right on that limestone reef and red dirt that is the Coonawarra ‘terra rossa cigar’, Chris stepped up the meat weight to ’30 day aged Angus striploin, garlic croutons, creamed mushroom and oven roasted tomato’ with Pete Gambetta’s single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon superstar, 2008 The Menzies – all darkberry cassis, mint eucalypt and its own mushroomy earth over grainy French oak palate length. That wine looked jolly good in the glass, and I know it wasn’t just me because there were a lot of questions as I went around the tables about Coonawarra, the dirt there and The Menzies. It’s still a bit of an unknown entity over here in parts of New South Wales. But perhaps we’ll have a bit of an outpost of support here at Three Fish in Cronulla with their hard core wine fans from now on.
***PS if you live in the area – join the Three Fish mailing list as they have regular wine dinners, and have some top wineries involved in the program – we’re following on from Brokenwood in the Hunter Valley – nice folks, nice wines.
And then for the big Old Vine Barossa finish, we poured the 2006 The Octavius (named for the small ‘octaves’ or barrels that the Shiraz is matured in) with some cheese and mountains of seeded muscatels – raisined on the bunch. This big dark purple wall of coffee mocha, star anise and plummy stuff is just starting to turn its screws – it’s just been sitting there gathering itself for the past 12 months, and it’s starting to show just what’s locked up in those layers of fruit and oak. It’s going to be a treat to keep showing the 2006 Octavius for the next four weeks around Australia – it’s going to really show what old vine Barossa Shiraz is all about … and the 2006 WILL end up being something just that bit special.
So on that note, Maryann and Chris have asked us back to do it all again same place same time next year, and we’d love to! Thanks to all the crew at Three Fish and their room full of diehard wine diners, especially the truck driver and the boys from the wine club (you know who you are), and my Qantas pilot and flight crew – I’m a Qantas Link gal! You did a magic job on the night and we’ll definitely be there next year with our ears pinned back! Look after Cronulla for us until then.