Currently back at my childhood haunts and family hometown of the Gold Coast and Brisbane for the week. The Gold Coast is ever busier but essentially remains the same familiar concentration of vulgar urbanity. And as far as I can tell, the place is still largely a cultural and gastronomic desert. Brisbane I concede, is continuing to gain maturity. More surprising however, is that the source for this post comes from deep within that speedily malignant spread of urban development between the coast and the capital city. Our clan had gathered to celebrate the 96-th birthday of the family's most senior patriarch, descending on a relatively nondescript but hilariously named suburban Chinese (& Malaysian) restaurant close-by to the home of some family members.
Those in the know had organised a full 8-course banquet but out of the procession of dishes some of which were more successful than others, one stood out above. There's a bountiful of fresh fish that can be bought at the various markets and fishmongers back in Melbourne but for sheer variety, the addition of tropical varieties found in the states further north can't be beat. And there's no finer or more delicious example of tropical piscine flesh than a whole perfectly steamed, ruby-coloured Queensland Coral Trout; served simply with the fish's own steaming liquor sauced lightly with soy, generous slivers of spring onion and coriander sprigs, a little dash of sesame oil, plus a final slippery drizzle of hot plain oil that was used to lightly crisp garnishings of ginger and garlic to infuse the aromatics. Who will be able to get enough of the tender pearlescent white flesh spooned over with some of that sauce onto plain steamed rice? And finally, whose manners would be the first to give out and dive for those heavenly pockets of flesh cradled in both cheeks of the head! Salute!
Ya Hoo Seafood Restaurant
Shop 10-11, 22 Loganlea Road, Waterford, QLD
(Spot Score: 14/20; Fish Score: 19/20)