I still remember the best fish and chips I ever had was not even in London, but in a harbor cafe in Sydney where they served me a brilliant beer batter version that was truly unforgettable. And that was over a decade ago.
I guess one of the reasons you can hardly get good fish and chips here is the fish here can never be as fresh or as good as the ones you get in Australia.
That, and the fact that most fish batter here is badly fried using bad and very reused oil that only makes it worse. While fish and chips franchises have grown in recent years, they are mostly commercial ventures that lack the care and attention needed to make a good plate of fish and chips.
So, I was kind of skeptical when Pauline came home one day getting all excited and raving about a cafe she just patronised earlier that day. She was gushing how the fish and chips she had reminded her of the one we had in Sydney and literally dragged me to Jalan Riang the next day.
It so happens Rokeby is an Australian inspired cafe that serves burgers, pastas and of course, fish and chips. It is started by a couple that actually lived in Perth for some time and it seems they want to bring a taste of hearty Australian fare here, and thank goodness they did.
The cafe here itself is spacious and comfortable, and feels cosy to lounge around for an entire afternoon during a weekend. The service when we were there were also very prompt and friendly. And they even had their own barista to make gourmet coffee using a special coffee bean from Australia. But more of that later. On to the food.
As I mentioned, they serve pasta here and each plate is cooked to order here. We sampled the vongole linguine and it was pretty decent. Nothing fancy and served without chilli, the white wine clam broth could have used a bit more emulsion and a little more sweetness though.
Nevertheless, for the price here, it was a cut above the ones you would get at Bakerzinn and such. At least the dryness of the wine could be made out but it was perhaps slightly over seasoned with salt.
|Fish and Chips|
As for the main star of the day, the presentation was simple but elegant. The beer batter looking deliciously golden was it laid on a bed of beautifully fried french fries and a generous portion of tartar and a wedge of lemon.
Garnished with some nutty arugula and shaved carrots, it looked the perfect plate of fish and chips, and quite honestly, tasted like one too. The beer batter was crisp, flaky and aromatic and had just the right amount of seasoning. Even the barley flavors of the beer was evident in every bite of the crust.
The fish itself was excellent, and I believed they used dory or something close to it. It was plump and succulent and inside, the flesh was beautifully cooked and absolutely flaky and broke away easily. And it was not dry either, the flesh still a little moist and warm.
The fries too were beautiful and bright, and not soggy like other places and the tartar with its comforting acidity and sweetness was just the right dip to cut through all that fried goodness. Surprisingly, the whole plate did not feel greasy at all, something that we remembered we enjoyed from the Sydney dish.
I need to mention about the coffee here too. They use Five Senses coffee beans and this is really a good brew. The double expressos we had were full of aroma that it would tempt any real lover of coffee. The acidity and body of the coffee was incredibly smooth and flavorful. Perfect to have after a meal.
Although we did not order them, the burgers here did look awesome and I reckoned they would have tasted just as good. Alas, the next time then. For now, the fish and chips and the coffee alone would make me return to this place.
If you are a fish and chips lover, and you have had enough with the Fish n Co and Manhattan Market outlets serving rather bland fish and chips, then this is the place for you. Heck, you pay just about the same amount here.
But for what you are getting in Rokeby, it is head and shoulders above anything else when it comes to fish and chips. And yes, I am still gushing about it. And I do not normally gush about food outside these days.
15 Jalan Riang