Saturday night was our last night in Lovedale, so we wanted to go somewhere different. A lot of foodies I know had recommended that we try out Leaves and Fishes, so we booked ourselves in and headed over after our afternoon wine tasting.
Leaves and Fishes is set out on a little dam where they originally used to raise perch to cook at the restaurant. The restaurant itself was beautiful, lined with hanging lights, lots of greenery, wicker seating on the deck and a great view over the dam.
We decided to sit outside so we could fully enjoy the scenery.
NOTE: Take our advice and don’t sit out on the deck in the summer months after sunset unless you’ve got some good mozzie repellant handy. Because the weather was warm and humid that day, and the water so still, as soon as the sun set the mozzies were out to play. I got bitten a few times and so did Jared. I’d suggest inside where it’s mozzie free, or wear long pants/repellent to avoid getting bites and having your dining experience continuously interrupted. Lesson learned!
We did get to watch the sun set and see the sky change into all sorts of beautiful colours while we sipped on our wine though, so that was a positive of sitting outside! Since we’d had a wine tasting beforehand and more wine waiting for us back at our loft, we decided to stick to just the one glass each at dinner, instead of getting a bottle. I got a refreshing and crisp Rose, which I sipped on happily with my dinner.
Before our meals came, they served up some pumpkin soup to start. This wasn’t part of the menu, but a complimentary starter from the restaurant. It was so creamy and flavoursome, what a delicious way to get our palates ready for our meals!
For his entree, Jared ordered the slipper lobster with coconut, peanut, coriander, nahm jim, master stock caramel, betel leaf. This was divine. The lobster tasted sweet and fresh and the dressing was a perfect combination of flavours without being too over powering. It also came on betel leaves (which is used a lot in south east Asian cooking) and you wrapped it all up the leaf before eating. It was a great pick by Jared, I must say!
I ordered the nori wrapped fish cake with sambal king prawn, roast lime, wakami salad and this was just as enjoyable. Jared preferred the fish cake, whilst I loved the sambal prawn. It was charred, spicy and the meat of the prawn was so sweet and tender. It was definitely the winner of the two for me!
For my main, I ordered the beef tenderloin, king brown mushroom puree, pickled asian mushrooms and black garlic. My steak was cooked perfectly (medium), and the mushroom pickle and puree were both nice, but I didn’t enjoy this as much as our entrees though. I’m not sure why, maybe it was simply because it didn’t pack quite a punch flavourwise as much as the entrees.
Jared ordered the dukkah crusted market fish, beetroot skordalia, kumera mash and roast baby onions. He loved it and cleaned his plate (and even had some of mine), but he did agree that he also enjoyed the entrees more.
We also ordered a side of hand-cut chips and garlic aoili to share between us with our mains and it was a very generous serving, making it great value for $8! Personally though, I thought they were a little soft and not quite as crunchy and golden as I like. But still enjoyable, and we had the staff pack the leftovers in a container so we could munch on them back at our loft.
We had a great night there, the staff were very friendly and the entrees were fabulous. I think the only minor downfall was that they were so good, they overshadowed the main courses which felt a little bland in comparison.
We asked for the check and it came back with little chocolates and lollies (something I’m not used to, but definitely didn’t turn down – when was the last time I had a Fantail?!). Then we bid the lovely staff good night and went to relax back at our loft for our last night there!
P.S Oh, and if you’re wondering how we got from Tatler to Leaves and Fishes, it’s only a 5min drive up the road. Jared couldn’t drive as he’d been drinking, so I just googled a cab service. We went with Cessnock Radio Cabs and they were great! The cab arrived within 10mins after the call every time!