If you’re looking for Chef David Coumont in the morning, you’ll find him at Sydney Fish Market sourcing the fresh seafood and some lesser known fish varieties to bring back to the kitchen.
A little over a year ago, Moxhe restaurant mMoxhe, Bronte along MacPherson Street and it’s been a destination for locals in the know. Moxhe, pronounced Mox, refers to the Belgian town where Chef and Co-Owner David Coumont comes from. But don’t go expecting Belgian food and waffles. Moxhe is a modern Australian seafood restaurant that brings classic techniques and inventive dishes to a daily changing menu.
David Coumont has worked at Michel Bras in France and later spent some time at Cafe Paci and Fish Face in Sydney. Co-owner and front of house, Helen Diab was former restaurant manager at Berowra Waters Inn. Between them, you can expect an experience that fuses many elements of fine dining in an intimate and welcoming suburban restaurant.
Wall of Indoor Plants and Succulents
The 34 seater venue has understated elegance with white walls, flickering candles, bare top tables and overhanging copper lighting.
Garden – Photo Courtesy of Moxhe
A wall of indoor plants and succulents leads the way to the restaurant garden where herbs and vegetables are laid out in a circular pattern reflective of indigenous farming techniques and as illustrated in their art.
Smoked Whole Mackerel
The menu at Moxhe consists of a la carte, an impressive list of daily specials, a degustation menu ($69 pp) with matching wines ($45 pp) and a two-course lunch special ($35). The wine list is comprehensive with an entire blackboard dedicated to wines by the glass. You’ll also find an eclectic mix of local beer and Belgian beer including Chimay Doree Trappiste.
What influences the choice of fish and seafood are three key factors: freshness, price and sustainability. By going to the fish market every morning, Chef is able to select the freshest fish and is well aware of the previous day’s produce.
Fennel Seed and Poppy Seed Bread
The degustation begins with house-made Fennel Seed and Poppy Seed Bread and butter – savoury and nutty with the studded seeds.
The first amuse bouche sets the tone for the rest of the menu. Fresh and vibrant, Pickled Mussels with celery and chives are presented on a bed of fine sand.
Beer Blinis with Wild Salmon Roe
Beer Blinis with Wild Salmon Roe follow, delicious bites of lightly textured blinis topped with salmon roe popping in the mouth.
House Smoked Salmon, Ricotta
The first course of House Smoked Salmon with Ricotta, Eschallots and Chives intrigues at first. The piece on the left has been cherrywood smoked and hung to dry for 16 days while the one on the right is aged for 52 days. Each has a different flavour and texture. The one on the left has a softer texture and milder in flavour while the older piece is firmer, drier and lingers long with that delicious cherrywood smoke. This is smoked salmon like you’ve never had it. The condiments are all you need to enjoy this unique dish – eshallots, chives, lemon and a grainy textured ricotta.
The dish is paired with 2009 Pipers Brook Sparkling from Tasmania, a wine with good acidity fine bubbles.
Seared Blue Mackerel, Soft Egg, Beetroot, Daikon
The next dish brings beautiful smoky aromas and a presentation that engages the senses. A thin slither of perfectly cooked Seared Blue Mackerel bursts with flavour, accompanied by a soft egg, beetroot, scallop-like daikon beneath cripsy kale. A superb dish that is a contender in our “Best Dishes of the Year” series. The accompanying wine is Domaine de Veronne, Roussette de Savoie, a perfectly paired dry, crisp wine with some minerality that cuts through the oiliness of the fish.
Handpicked Sand Crab, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi, Lemon Thyme
Next in an optional course in the degustation menu. The Handpicked Sand Crab, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi, Lemon Thyme ($10) is well worth ordering. The crab sits on a bed of cauliflower puree with poached kohlrabi and raw cauliflower shavings on top. Each mouthful is delightfully creamy and goes very well with the floral notes and hint of sweetness of 2013 Willm Gewurztraminer from Alsace.
Handmade Tiger Prawn Ravioli
The Handmade Tiger Prawn Ravioli are tight little buds of pasta filled with tiger prawns in a light and aromatic prawn broth that one is happy to eat on its own. The crispness of the accompanying 2015 Kooyong Clonale Chardonnay pairs well with the creaminess of the crustaceans.
When it comes to the next dish, whatever your idea of a Seafood Bouillabaisse, it will challenge it. Four types of fish make up the dish, red fish, snapper, John Dory and perch – all moist and succulent – with a mussel and prawn in a strained tomato-based broth redolent with aromas of saffron. The bouillabaisse is accompanied by a cripsy tartine of vegetables with rouille, ribbons of zucchini and fennel, diced zucchini, eggplant and tomato which you add to the dish as shown above. Staying true to the theme, the dish is paired with 2014 Alta for Elsie Rose wine.
Simple entitled “Gin”, the next course is a refreshing palate cleanser, a sorbet made with Bombay Sapphire gin with stevia flowers from the restaurant’s garden.
Profiteroles, Belgian Chocolate, Hazelnut, Vanilla Ice Cream
When it comes to dessert, the light choux pastry in the Profiteroles is filled with crème patissiere and crème Chantilly beside a pool of rich Belgian Chocolate with Hazelnut and Vanilla Ice Cream.
Moxhe Apple Tart
The Moxhe Apple Tart is a lighter alternative with delicate pastry that melts in the mouth with paper thin apple slices.
Dessert is paired with 2014 Bulwarra Bee’s Mead Dessert Wine from NSW, a sweet style of wine made from fermented honey with beautiful floral and sweet aromas and a prominent sweet honey flavour.
To finish, Speculoos are served as petits fours, a Belgian delicacy of spicy biscuits dipped in Belgian chocolate. If you need a digestive to seal the experience, the Poire Eau de Vie is highly recommended.
When dining at Moxhe, some time during the degustation, you’ll find that you’ve run out of superlatives. Rarely does one enjoy every aspect of every dish in a degustation, and with front of house and kitchen in synergy, you’ll leave on a very happy note.
Moxhe brings a fine dining experience in a relaxed and unpretentious setting, be it a couple on a date night, girlfriends catching up mid week or a group of four friends. The dishes entice and the flow of the degustation is impeccable. If you haven’t been yet, don’t leave it for a special occasion. With a daily changing menu, a la carte dining, BYO on Tuesdays ($15) as well as a two-course lunch special ($35 pp), you’ll soon be among the locals in the know.
65 Macpherson St, Bronte NSW 2024
Phone:(02) 8937 0886
Except where stated, Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.
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