By Caz Parker
As luminary chef Steven Snow schmoozes with patrons on a balmy Friday night, I learnt that, although Fins has won ‘Chef Hat’ awards consistently for twenty years what really gets Steven tapping his hand on his heart with pride is the ‘Most Sustainable Seafood Restaurant’ award [SMH Good Food Guide 2015].
Steven’s quest for sustainable methods means prosperity from the Pacific Ocean must be line-caught, and he embodies a genuine ‘Pacific-to-plate’ ambition.
Steven is effervescent as he explains that virtually every wine at Fins comes from a sustainable wine producer. ‘It has to start in the vineyard,’ he says. ‘We research and check all their biodynamic methods. We don’t just take their word for it’.
Fins’ sustainable ideology translates to quality and flavour on our table. The fact that Fins’ service and atmosphere also ooze ‘fabulosity’ is icing on the cake. Renovated last June, Fins is a place you dream of discovering on an exotic adventure.
Antique chandeliers, nautical lamps and candlelight shed a golden glow across the vintage timber. The pressed-metal and split-level ceiling panels hint at an oriental past life. Pre-loved plantation shutters and banks of bottle-green palms cloak the room in colonial charm.
The wooden-pegged napkins reveal a welcome abandonment of stifling fine dining conventions and Steven’s ‘no rules’ approach to experimentation.
As you sink into the intimate booths you are transported to another world, where it’s easy to let your imagination run wild.
Perhaps you’re dining in a notorious shop-house in old Saigon. The Yellow Fin tuna sashimi is rolled in nori dust, dressed with hot shallot oil, avocado and a harmonious blend of trimmings. The pretty pink glow of the matching French Rosé, resembling the colour of the tuna flesh, suggests a symbiotic sensitivity between the two.
For a ‘low food miles’ fantasy that could only exist in the northern rivers, try this: char-grilled Brunswick king prawns and green papaya salad crown the top of sweet barbecue Bangalow pork and are all delicately towered onto rustic earthenware.
Maybe you’re chillin’ in a Caribbean hideaway with your hip-hop crew. The aromatic, slightly sweet Marcarini Moscato D’Asti white wine is da bomb with the lemon myrtle panna cotta whose wobbly-boob attitude, grapefruit and ginger syrup and apple crumble are an uplifting finale. The popularity of Moscato has skyrocketed since hip-hop elite [Jay Z and Nicqui Minaj] discovered the drop and Kanye, Drake and Lil’ Kim began injecting Moscato into their lyrics.
The thirty-two page Wine Menu is indeed a First Class around-the-world ticket. Without the jetlag. After savouring the six degustation menu wines, from six different countries, there was no hint of a foggy head the next day – simply fond memories of a fantasyland feast at Fins.