Hungry Hinch

In Tune With Tuna

Dreaming of Kaua’i Photo Courtesy of: Natwick

MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE  I’m planning a long-overdue  visit back to Hawaii  soon – with the daily ritual of  fresh deep sea  tuna  sashimi  at  the Blue Dolphin in Hanalei, Kaua’i. Or ‘ahi’ as they call it over there.

Maybe it’s because for a year after my liver transplant I was on the  ‘pregnant woman’s diet’ where raw fish, and even seared scallops,  were banned from my menu.

And maybe it’s just because I could eat Japanese food seven days a week.

But lately, I have been craving raw tuna with wasabi and soy sauce which hasn’t been hurting my weight loss campaign either.

 It is so cheap and easy in Hawaii that you buy it at the local supermarket and I have a dear friend, Nancy Boyer,  who has  been known to feed it to her grossly spoiled cat.

(Serving tip, not for cats:  Always put the fresh tuna in the freezer for a few minutes before carving. It firms it just enough for you to be able to slice it thinly without it wobbling and putting your fingertips at risk.)

My sashimi craving has actually expanded to include raw Tasmanian salmon and even kingfish.

best-kept (until now) secrets

Recently, I stumbled on a dining precinct that has to be one of the best-kept (until now) secrets in Melbourne:  South Wharf, off Docklands.

I discovered it – as I recounted in a feature I wrote for The Big Smoke –while sampling that Ferris wheel white elephant called the Melbourne Star.

Natwick and I went to the Meat Market for lunch after a DFO shopping detour and I had the most authentic Reuben sandwich I’ve ever eaten outside the US of A.

A perfectly presented combo of hot sandwich made of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread. So much for the diet.

(For Trivial Pursuit buffs the worst Reuben sandwich is served at the Nairobi Hilton. Right, Darren James?)

And this is in a steak house.  A place I shouldn’t even be frequenting seeing I haven’t eaten a steak in about 15 years. The closest I get with beef is the occasional sliver in shabu shabu in a Japanese noshhouse.

loves red meat

Natasha (Natwick) though loves red meat.  Our return visit to the Meat Market was not an easy one and appreciating the food not a priority.  It was her last night in town before returning to Sydney to live and, at least for now, the carnivore was over.

She did have a succulent eye fillet. I, being a small night eater, spotted an intriguing tuna stack under the Starters.  Raw tuna cubes pressed together into a slab and topped with an avocado spread and a wasabi cream. There was also an exotic native Australian herb topping it, the name of which I’ve lost.

The dish was in the Snacks column but was so filling I could barely attack a spicy Vietnamese salad we ordered on the side.

The Meat Market (and the Spanish tapas Bohemian behind it) are really worth visiting. The MM has outside tables overlooking the Yarra and the city skyline and there’s a decidedly Seine and Parisienne feel about it. Well, we used refer to the ‘Paris end of Collins Street’ until the Super-tram stops  stuffed it up.

And don’t be put off by the name. The Meat market does not refer to the proficient waitresses or female patrons.

 It really does pride itself on its steaks.


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