Saturday, December 31, 2011

Middle Fish

30 December, 2011
When Claire first blogged about about Middle Fish, the stylish new Thai place in our neighbourhood, Cindy and I were cautiously enthused. Enthused because of the beautiful fitout and fresh sounding food and cautious because of their much-vaunted authenticity. Authenticity for a Thai place basically means fish sauce and/or shrimp paste in everything, so we were uncertain as to whether or not Middle Fish would have much to offer us. But I wandered in for lunch, relieved to find something open in the Christmas/NY gap (this was an unplanned solo visit, so the photos are all from my phone and not up to Cindy's usual standards).

As with Seven Seeds (where Middle Fish source their coffee), this is a converted warehouse, which means high ceilings and loads of space. It's outfitted with wonderfully designed sculptures and fittings courtesy of visiting Thai designer Torlap Larpjaroensook. The basic menu has almost nothing vego on it, but there's a sentence at the bottom promising veg adaptations are available. After a quick chat with one of the very friendly staff, I'm given a decent range of options, settling on a version of fried rice minus the pork. They checked in with me about various ingredients - it was particularly reassuring when they asked me about fish sauce - and relayed my answers to the kitchen.

What came out was this:

A generous serve of fried rice, filled with crispy fresh vegies and accompanied by a bowl of biting chilli-soy sauce. The combo of slightly vinegary flavours, soy and heaps of fresh chilli really went down well with me. I was particularly pleased to find out that Middle Fish don't load things up with sugar or skimp too much on the heat - the bottle of water on the table certainly came in handy.

This was an excellent lunch - quick, fresh and tasty and served by super-friendly staff who were happy to deal with vegetarian fussiness. The only slight downside was the price - $14.50 might be okay if you're paying for the fancy pork version of this but is a bit steep otherwise. Vegetarians clearly aren't the main priority of Middle Fish, yet it was nice to discover that they'll happily cater for us - I'm going to drag Cindy back to find out what else they can do.
____________

Middle Fish is gradually developing some blog-buzz: Melbourne gastronome, Authenticcity and The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar have all raved about it since it opened a few weeks back.
____________

Middle Fish
122-128 Berkeley Street, Carlton
9348 1704
salads $12.50, mains $14.50

Accessibility: There's a flat entry way leading into an incredibly spacious and naturally well-lit dining area. Service takes place at the table, payment at a low counter.

11 comments:

  1. great to know there is somewhere open during summer - so many places are closed around the uni - this sounds worth a peek if I am feeling like something a bit fancy at lunchtime! Esp if they understand that vegos don't eat fish sauce

    Best wishes to you and cindy for the new year

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy new year, Johanna! Hope you're having a lovely summer 'round uni. :-)

      Delete
  2. yeah i'll have to try one day when I have the money.
    oh and by the way RUSU realfoods will be open in feb for you guys to try. This is a vegan cafe in RMIT city campus open from 11am-4pm and they do some wonderful vegetarian meals for a very small price (under $10 each)and some yummy cakes and drinks (such as smoothies). It is open to the public
    Oh and they have their free cooking classes from time to time.
    what say you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katy_em - sounds terrific! I'll note RUSU down for a visit. Thanks.

      Delete
    2. yay! they should be opening up soon. probably from the 20th of feb.

      Delete
  3. For your next visit, I would suggest giving the salads a try. I had the vegetarian version of (i forget the name) the salad with apples, cherries and cashews in it - very refreshing for a hot summer's day and tasty to boot.

    thanks for keeping up a great blog in 2011 - looking forward to more in 2012!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wendy, that salad sounds awesome - I'll take you up on that one when I eventually visit. Happy new year!

      Delete
  4. just to clarify, i think they use five senses coffee!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think they have changed the menu, lots of straight vego dishes on it now. I just had a tofu and vegetable satay, so delicious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the update, Katya! We might head back for lunch tomorrow.

      Delete
  6. It was good, menu is still quite short but definitely a decent choice of vego, especially for thai food (and I'm assuming they would still change things too though I didn't ask).

    ReplyDelete