MOXHE, Bronte, Sydney
Interestingly enough, I discovered Moxhe on Instagram. Their photos were so beautiful, they really grabbed my attention – pictures of gorgeous fresh seafood. And before I knew it, I’d booked in! It’s the first time that’s happened. Moxhe is in Bronte, a beachside suburb of Sydney and where you’ll find the original Three Blue Ducks, sister restaurant of the Top 100 version now in Byron Bay. I just happened to be going to Sydney and had a car booked as we were heading down to Biota Dining in Bowral, the very last restaurant to complete my Top 100 tally. The perfect opportunity.
The restaurant is a small space on the main street of Bronte with a simple, tasteful fit out and comfy chairs. With its open front, the traffic noise can get a little loud at times, but it didn’t bother me.
Moxhe’s owners are partners David Coumont (chef) and Helen Diab, and the name Moxhe is the name of the village in Belgium where David is originally from. After some time working in Europe, David ended up in Sydney and worked at Fish Face and Café Paci, both former Top 100 restaurants.
Seafood is their specialty and each day David heads to the Sydney Fish Market to choose the freshest and the best, so there’s changing daily specials. You can dine a la carte or there’s the degustation menu with Helen’s matched wine option. We had already booked in to do a 7 course degustation that night, so what was a little 6 courser for lunch? Just a stomach stretcher, surely! We opted for the degustation (I’m so hopeless).
We started with a lovely snack of celeriac crisp topped with mussel mousse. Then, the House-smoked salmon, air dried and served with house ricotta, lemon and chives. Such a great start to the meal. That salmon was texturally perfect. The Grilled baby squid, fennel and citrus sauce was light and delicious, and then David sent out a special dish for us – Butter-poached marron with butternut and hazelnut. Plated simply but cleverly – this was probably the dish of the day for me.
And then, of course, we had to have the optional crab dish. It would have been rude to skip it, and for an additional $15 it was money well spent. Fresh, naturally sweet Picked mud crab with cauliflower, topped with a thin sheet of kohlrabi. I was in absolute heaven.
Then out came the two fish courses. Firstly the Sourdough crusted John Dory, mushroom, chicken jus and silverbeet. I love John Dory, mushrooms and silverbeet. Enough said, and the crust was thin and crisp. A great dish. Secondly, the Crispy skin Spanish mackerel, with a nice soft round of daikon, a slice of pickled daikon, sesame and Tuscan cabbage. Probably not a fish I would normally choose texture-wise, but an enjoyable well-constructed dish nonetheless.
We were intrigued by the next course that was simply called ‘Gin’. I thought perhaps we’d be given a shot of gin but what came to the table was a really good gin sorbet with a good strong gin flavour. Rather than dessert, we asked if we could have the optional cheese course instead, which we did, and they were lovely French cheeses – a blue, a goat, a camembert and a hard cheese served with David’s plum sauce. And finally to finish off, we were given some sweet Belgian treats.
At $69 a head (plus the cost of any optional courses you might have), the degustation at Moxhe is a bargain. What David is serving up is well considered, quality Top 100-worthy food. It’s delicious, fresh seafood treated with the utmost respect. We were so impressed we insisted that David come out to our table so we could shower him with compliments.
I highly recommend Moxhe to all seafood lovers, in fact any lovers of fine food!