Venture into the wild and wonderful world of seafood at Saint Peter fish eatery

6 Min Read

Taking seafood to another level.

We have been meaning to go to two-hatted restaurant Saint Peter in Paddington, Sydney, for some time, but it’s been hard to secure a table until now. Mrs TCF has been wondering what all the fuss has been about; however, it only takes one course for her to realise.

Saint Peter head chef Josh Niland is committed to using local, sustainably caught seafood to help preserve our environment. That also means daily menu changes, depending on what is available.

You can come for dinner or lunch, with the restaurant serving a seven-course tasting menu and an optional wine pairing for dinner, and a la carte for lunch.

Saint Peter starters

Oysters

The oyster selection catches our eyes straight away. The restaurant provides flavour profiles of each: the 3-year-old appellation oysters from Albany, WA, are particularly savoury and buttery, with a pinch of anchovy. The 3-year-old oysters from Hastings River on the Mid North Coast of NSW are creamy, parmesan and mineral. Meanwhile, the 4-year-old gems from Tathra, NSW, are sweet, salty and buttery. The distinct flavour of each oyster and their respective estuaries wow us.

6 oysters on a plate with a vinaigrette in the middle at Saint Peter Restaurant.
Perfection.

Chef Niland explains the oysters are opened without running water to ensure we experience the true taste of them and the bodies of water they were located in. He also keeps them at a certain temperature to optimise flavour.

“By storing and serving the rock oysters at 12 degrees Celsius, you can distinguish the unique qualities of each oyster.”

Bonito sashimi in a broth with purple flowers in a white bowl at Saint Peter in Paddington.
Summer palate pleaser.

Bonito and uni

The coal-kissed, line-caught, raw bonito with stix tomatoes and black garlic is a chilled, zingy dish. The ananda capers provide some bite and the bonito soaks up all the flavours.

We also enjoy the sea urchin (uni) from Saint Helens on the northeast coast of Tasmania. It comes with toasted brioche. The uni has a fluffy mouthfeel and tastes of the sea. An ever-so-slight bitterness adds to the flavour profile’s complexity.

Sea urchin on 2 brioche on a white and grey plate.
Tasmania’s got the goods.

Seafood charcuterie

Next is the seafood charcuterie – a new concept for us. We try an assortment of cured seafood, including Ocean Trout salami and Murray Cod chorizo. Mr TCF loves the smooth John Dory liver pate. We think seafood charcuterie should be more widespread; our assortment is enormously tasty with strong textural interest.

Seafood charcuterie on a skewer and pate on a white plate.
If we could have this more often, we would.

As if we weren’t already in heaven, the line caught Blue Mackerel from Ulladulla further elevates the evening. It’s simple but strong. The Mackerel is tinged with salt and vinegar, and drips in a peppery, Gordal olive brine. It’s perfect with a side of crusty sourdough that’s slathered in a cultured butter.

Blue Mackerel slices in olibe brine and olive oil on a plate.
An ode to simplicity.

Saint Peter restaurant mains

It’s time for the line-caught Blue Maori Cod. This is a lesser-known fish that comes from Kurrimine Beach in Cassowary Coast region in Queensland. It’s lightly barbecued to form a smoky crust. It goes well with the grilled avocado (Mrs TCF is initially doubtful about warm avocado but Niland proves her wrong). Meanwhile, flowering cucumbers freshen the palate.

Fish in a creamy foam with cucumber on a white plate.
Trying lesser-known Australian fish species.

But the hero of the evening is a 20-day, dry-aged Swordfish belly from Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Dry aging gives it a rich, meaty flavour, which works well with potato puree, fennel and fig leaf. It’s the first time we have had fish that can be described as somewhat beefy! 

Dry aged Swordfish Belly with potato and a green sauce on a white and grey plate at Saint Peter Restaurant in Paddington, Sydney.
Meaty Swordfish.

Saint Peter dessert

It’s time for sweets, which begin with Alfonsino eye ice-cream in a crunchy choux. After this, we relish the lemon meringue tart. Once our spoons dip below the coal-scorched surface – reminding Mrs TCF of campfire toasted marshmallows – we reach the most glistening, soft meringue. A dollop of thick cream sourced from Gippsland in Victoria by St David Dairy, balances out the sugar.

Lemon meringue tart at Saint Peter restaurant in Paddington.
Sticky, tangy, sweet.

Summing it up

Throughout the evening, the waiter, and sometimes the chefs themselves, willingly explain what has gone into each dish. This includes where the seafood has come from, the reason for each choice and how the dishes are made. The team times the intervals between each course well, and the sommelier thoughtfully pairs the wine. The standouts are a 2022 pinot noir from Tolpuddle vineyard in Tasmania to match the intensity of the Swordfish and accompanying jus, and the herbaceous verde amaro. The latter has notes of sage, lemon balm and pine leaves, and comes from Iseya Distillery in the Kanagawa prefecture of Japan.

Our evening has been a meditation on the diversity of flavours from sustainably caught seafood. We’d love for this type of cuisine to become more widely accessible, though we are grateful we are able to experience it tonight.

If you’re a seafood lover, or would like to better understand the wonderful possibilities of seafood, there’s a good chance you’ll thoroughly enjoy your evening at Saint Peter restaurant.


Saint Peter
362 Oxford St, Paddington
Sydney, NSW

Experience more culinary adventures at Two Chat Food and follow us on Instagram @twochatfood.

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