Thursday, December 1, 2011

i try in situ

It had been raining all week. I hadn't seen my shadow for days. At around 2pm on Saturday the rain ceased, the clouds parted and for the first time in what felt like forever, we got to feel the warmth of the sun on our cheeks. Dr Gab and I decided oysters were very much in order. We made our way into Manly and found ourselves at In Situ.

In Situ seems small at first glance but upon closer inspection you'll see a sizeable restaurant area out the back. This place would be ideal on a cold winter's evening, with the warm, orange glow of the lighting and cosy atmosphere. Maybe that's why they've added random palm trees and make it more summery?

Both Dr Gab and I were eager for food but the friendly gentleman told us the kitchen wasn't open till 6 (20 minutes away). No worries! With the cocktails on special for $10 we were happy to put of food in order to put their cocktail menu to the test. They have all the usual suspects on their cocktail menu as well as some clever originals. I have to admit it was difficult to choose. I went with the Lychee Elderflower Martini (Absolut vodka shaken briskly with fresh lychees, citrus and elderflower) and Dr Gab chose the Soviet Kiss (Absolut vodka, fresh raspberries and strawberries citrus, cinnamon topped with sparkling wine). Both were delicious and perfect for the balmy weather. We polished them off quickly and then shifted to the open air section out the back where we perused the food menu and enjoyed the last rays of sunshine as the sky began to turn orange and pink.

We did, of course, choose the Coffin Bay oysters served natural with Nam Jim (pictured, 1/2 doz $18). The oysters were plump and fresh served on a bed of ice with a wedge of lemon. The nam jim was delicious. It had a little kick of chilli and just the right intensity so as not to mask the flavour of the oysters. We liked the nam jim so much we attepted to replicate in the days following our jaunt. Ours was pretty awesome but turns out getting "that balance" right is harder than we thought.

We followed up our oysters with Lightly battered Zucchini flowers with mint and ricotta (pictured, $14). This was mainly to satisfy me, having never had zucchini flowers before. They are the kind of thing you see on Master Chef and say, "We should try that!", but never actually do. They were piping hot when they arrived out our table. Small flakes of salt had been sprinkled over them. Although they were deep fried there was not a hint of grease insight. They were light and crunchy. I couldn't really taste the actual zucchini flowers much but Dr Gab and I concluded they were mainly for aesthetics. Either way, they were yum and I would order them again.

As we waited for our third dish of Cured Ocean Trout Carpaccio, pink grapefruit, baby capers and lemon oil (pictured, $15) Dr Gab recounted stories of all-you-can-eat carpaccio in Noumea. When ours arrived it was a rich, glossy orange laid out perfectly and lovingly topped with a micro herb salad. I really liked this dish. In all honesty though, thinking about it now, I can't recall any pink grapefruit. I certainly didn't miss it at the time. It was a simple, beautiful dish.

In Situ is all about beautifully presented, fresh dishes with subtle flavours, using quality, in season produce. The service was very good without being over bearing. We would've stayed for desert but Dr Gab had made a pit stop at Zumbo so we headed down to the beach to enjoy macaroons. We will come back for desert another day.

In Situ on Urbanspoon

If you like the sound of this you will probably like The Armchair Collective.
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