Sunday, June 16, 2024

Sydney Fish Market to have restaurant from celebrity chef Luke Nguyen

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Details have emerged about the forthcoming Blackwattle Bay development, with big hospitality names, a Haymarket dumpling operator and inner-west gelataria set to open at the site next year.

They’ve been as tight as a set of clenched John Dory lips down at Sydney Fish Market about incoming operators at the $800 million redevelopment, but the Herald can reveal a restaurant from celebrity chef Luke Nguyen and a spin-off from the chefs’ hatted Ho Jiak restaurant are part of the plans.

As the glistening build, designed by Danish architects 3XN and twice the size of the existing site, edges closer toward its 2025 opening, Sydneysiders can look forward to a promising food line-up. A Haymarket dumpling operator and inner-west gelataria are also believed to be part of the incoming edible offering.

A design by 3XN and BVN for the redeveloped Sydney Fish Market.
A design by 3XN and BVN for the redeveloped Sydney Fish Market.Supplied

Malaysian restaurateur Junda Khoo, who owns the one-hat Ho Jiak Town Hall restaurant, confirmed he’ll join the waterside food party. Given the leaning of most traditional operators at Sydney Fish Market toward seafood, Khoo wants to cater to a broader market by offering a menu that straddles surf and turf.

“It will be 50-50 meat and seafood,” Khoo says of Tam Jiak restaurant, which translates as “being greedy to eat”. Inspired by Western-style hawker food stalls in Malaysia, the chef will bring his own take to grill-house staples. Vegemite baby pork ribs and a range of steaks are on his draft menu, along with chicken chop with buttermilk sauce, salted duck egg prawn toast, chilli crab dumplings and grilled squid.

“I want to do something different, something brand new,” Khoo says of the venture, which will seat up to 150 customers.

A construction worker looks towards the new Sydney Fish Market.
A construction worker looks towards the new Sydney Fish Market.Kate Geraghty

Touted as the Sydney’s most significant harbourside building since the Opera House, the development will include designer food digs under a wave-shaped, scale-patterned roof with basement parking.

The infrastructure is a big part of the appeal for incoming operators. As are projections the rebooted Sydney Fish Market will double its 5.5 million annual visitors.

TV presenter and restaurateur Luke Nguyen and reps for Sydney Fish Market haven’t yet returned phone calls, but the Vietnamese-Australian chef’s involvement in a restaurant start-up was confirmed by several sources close to the project.

An artist’s impression of the eastern entrance of the new Sydney Fish Market.
An artist’s impression of the eastern entrance of the new Sydney Fish Market.Supplied

As well as the incoming food talent, the fish market’s stable of seasoned operators have plans of their own. A spokesman for retailer GetFish says its expansion will include a 200-seat eatery and further roll-out of its GetSashimi brand.

“We’ll have the largest sushi train in Australia,” the spokesman says. GetFish also has plans for 12-seater spaces where they’ll tailor dining experiences and collaborate with chefs.

The current Sydney Fish Market site remains fully operational while the new development is being built.

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Scott BollesScott Bolles writes the weekly Short Black column in Good Food.

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