It’s rare that occasion calls for flounder as the fish of choice. With the likes of snapper and tarakihi usually taking centre stage, the flatfish can often fall overlooked. However, after learning of Soul Bar & Bistro’s Executive Chef Gavin Doyle’s passion for it, we’re convinced we could do well to reignite our love for this misunderstood species… A soft white fish with a delicate flavour, “it makes an utterly delicious dish if it’s cooked with love,” the cooking maestro admits.
Locally sourced from the shallow-watered estuaries by the coast, the Yellowbelly flounder that find themselves in the hands of the acclaimed chef are subject to a simple yet undeniably lavish treatment. “We cover it in beurre noisette,” explains Doyle “pan roasting it skin side down for 3 minutes until crisp, before flipping it over for another 3 minutes.” The fish — the only type served whole on the menu — is laid onto the plate while the rich beurre noisette sauce is being finished in the pan with capers, Marcona almonds, a sprinkle of parsley and a touch of lemon. It’s a winning formula that, according to Doyle, will never need to be changed.
When asked on the perfect sides to suit the fish, Doyle recommends sticking to the traditional pairing. “There’s nothing better than the classic fish and chips,” he says, while admitting that a healthier option may be to side it up with Soul’s green beans, if you’re that way inclined. Our recommendation? We’re no culinary experts, but we suggest you round up your mates, opt for the flounder, order a medley of sides — not just the shoe-string fries and greens, but perhaps the salt and pepper squid and the roasted cauliflower (which comes topped with stringy mozzarella and is our firm favourite) too, and share over a good chin-wag from a sun-drenched front table — at least that’s what we’ll be doing from spring through till summer, we’ll see you there.
Soul Bar & Bistro
16-18/Lower Hobson Street
Customs St West
09 356 7249