Thursday, December 30, 2010

kailis bros fish café blue crabmeat & linguini pasta

A week before Christmas, my sister rang up Kailis Brothers Fish Café to book us a table for Christmas Eve at 6pm. She was told that it’ll be super busy and that we have to be prompt if we didn’t want to lose our table.

We were a bit surprised when we arrived at the restaurant in the early afternoon at about 5.50pm that the restaurant wasn’t that crowded, with plenty of empty tables all around. The waitperson showed us to our table as soon as we told them who we were. My nephew and brother-in-law went next door to have a look at all the seafood in the Kailis Bros Market, meanwhile I accompanied my sister to our table.

Even before we asked for it, the waitperson fetched for us a toddler high chair for my nephew to sit on. She also placed on the table some colouring-in paper with Santa on it and a clear glass of multicoloured crayons, to the later delight of my nephew.

Before I looked at the menu, I asked my sister what’s good as she ate here before. She told me that the crab linguini was quite good. I scanned the menu, but my mind’s already made up on the crab linguini. We got the attention of the waitperson quite easily and asked her to take our order: garlic bread (because we knew we wouldn’t be full without them), crab linguini, spaghetti marinara, and the seafood platter. As soon as she left, I pardoned myself, as I wanted to go and have a look at the seafood in the market next door.

That afternoon was the last of Kailis Bros Fish Market's 36-hour Christmas Seafood Marathon, which saw the adjoining seafood market open day and night from 7am on 23 December until 7pm on 24 December. The market was abuzz with activity. Its floor glistening wet. Busy shopkeepers – in wellington boots & plastic aprons – were shovelling seafood into bags, weighing them, wrapping them up before handing them over to the customers. To my slight annoyance, I could detect a subtle fishy smell. But I wasn’t there to buy the seafood, I just wanted to feast my senses with the colours and the shapes of all the crab, the prawns, the fish. I never knew that salmon is such an ugly-looking fish! It reminded me of the villainous fish in the Disney classic, Little Mermaid that I watched probably 20 times when I was little. I was also checking the eyeballs of the many kinds of fish that were in offer, just to see if the market’s worth a future visit. Some were disappointingly cloudy.

Rainbow trout

Blue crab

When I was satisfied, I went back to the table to find my sister and brother-in-law busily colouring in Santa with my nephew, so I joined in. Slices of scrumptiously buttered herby garlicky garlic bread were already on the table for us to nibble on while we waited for the main courses. They arrived when almost all of the garlic bread disappeared, save a couple of slices.

Herb and garlic bread - $6.90

I thoroughly enjoyed my crab linguini, with its glorious subtlety. It didn’t possess any distinct flavour that punches you in the face like salty, sweet, or sour. That is not to say that it is bland, far from it, in fact. There were plenty of flavours in the delicate sweetness of the onion, the garlic and the chunky crab meat, the tickling heat from the chilli skins, the faint peppery taste from the olive oil and the microscopically chopped parsley. Combine all that into one, and it works. And what about the perfectly al-dente linguini? It’s truly an understatement to say that I enjoyed the dish immensely. I wished it didn’t have to end.

Blue crabmeat & linguini pasta (main) - $34.90

But it did. I had to amuse myself with other things, eg. other foods on the table. My brother-in-law graciously offered me one of the three oysters Kilpatrick from his seafood platter, which I unashamedly accepted. It was delicious. I found my next target, but I got momentarily distracted by an ambush from a pair of pesky flies. We had to vigorously defend our territory and chase the flies off with our only available artillery, our hands.

Great Aussie Seafood Platter - $48

Once we had the pest situation taken care of, I redirected my hands (and fork) to my original target, my sister’s spaghetti marinara. I scooped up a prawn, a few strands of the al-dente spaghetti and some of the rich tomatoey sauce from her plate. After I put them in my mouth and savoured and thought to myself that it was also delicious, my sister suddenly - but carefully - spit out (into a disposable napkin, of course) a piece of fish that she said was awfully fishy. She thought that was a bit odd. I was a bit unsettled by that, with the prices they charge, they should dish out perfect dishes every single time. By then, I was almost full, but my stomach was still longing for my long gone crab linguini. In the end, I had to satisfy it with the last standing piece of garlic bread.

Spaghetti marinara (main) - $33.50

Sis’ child-friendliness rating: 7 out of 10
Points for the crayons, paper cup with plastic lid and straw, and high chairs.
Points off for the lack of cutlery for kids.

Kailis Brothers Fish Cafe on Urbanspoon
Kailis Brothers Fish Café
101 Oxford St
Leederville WA
Open 7 days 7am-10am, 12pm-2pm, 6pm-10pm

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