Monday, January 30, 2006
Bait. White. Bait.
Pure dumb luck.
I love tiny weeny fish being plucked from the ocean, choked in flour, and then fried to excruciating death in a vat of hot oil. Who would have thought I'd have the opportunity to experience this delicacy twice in one week.
'Devilled' whitebait is what they call it at the Beach House Cafe in Lower Sandy Bay. I remember that much. Unfortunately I was too pissed to now recall how they labelled the dish (other than just 'whitebait') at Mezethes in Salamanca Quarry. Needless to say, both dishes entailed a roughly similar preparation to the torture outlined above. Both were around the $12 mark.
I love whitebait. To do this at home (without contravening the Geneva Convention) take some whitebait (teeny weeny white fish, about as long as my little finger and just as thin); flounce the fish about in a bowl of flour (usually seasoned with salt and pepper, and whatever else you'd like); fry in very hot oil. Serve with a squeeze of lemon. Munch and moan to your heart's content.
I first discovered this dish when I was an underage drunk at a Greek take away in Lonsdale St, Melbourne. My friend Corrina and I thought we were ordering hot chips from the bain-marie. Boy, did we get a surprise. I spent the next six months trying to find the exact same Greek take away on Lonsdale St (the phrase 'needle in a haystack' comes to mind), pathetically asking all: Do you sell those fish-chip-things?
So, I love whitebait. Clearly. And when it comes down to a two-up contest between Mezethes (Greek) and Beach House Cafe ("new Australian"), I'm surprised to say that Beach House Cafe won hands down! Not soggy, not oily, just gorgeous.