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Thursday 9 June 2016

A world-class dining experience in Port Macquarie

It did not start well. Due to an oversight my restaurant booking had been mislaid and I was not expected at The Stunned Mullet. 

Things quickly picked up from there - despite the absence through sickness of owner Lou Perri. 

Maitre 'd James took matters swiftly in hand and I was able to enjoy a superb wine and food experience in the unlikely setting of a New South Wales Coastal resort.

Perri, who also operates Scampi's down the road, is a consummate professional - and that is reflected in both the menu and by his slick staff. 

The space may be a casual one, dominated by an artwork of wine cases, but the food is serious and the walk-in cellar and wine list reflect a global view with a focus on quality. 

Perri is a champion of both local produce and sustainable seafood, so it made sense to steer in that direction; although I was tempted by a bottle of Salomon Undhof gruner-veltliner. Sometimes it is all too easy to confuse Australia and Austria.

There may be a beachy feel, but there some serious technique in dishes like southern yellowfin tuna sashimi (top) with nori ash, ginger gel, avocado, cucumber, puffed wild rice and wasabi. It is a textural triumph.    
Next came the fishmonger's choice (a local mackerel) with toasted rice skin, sweet corn puree, green salsa, squid ink and fennel salad. The fish might have been cooked a minute too long, but the flavours were exquisite. 

Dessert was salty creme caramel with yuzu, spiced rum jelly, brown butter crumb and black sesame gelato; another standout.

The food here is as good as anything you might find in Surry Hills or Fitzroy - the service probably more friendly. You'll need a well-primed credit card but the value is certainly evident.

The Stunned Mullet, 1/24 William Street, Port Macquarie, NSW 2444. (02) 6584 7757.

# The author was a guest of Port Macquarie Tourism

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