CONGRATULATIONS CATFISH THAI
In the Australian culinary realm there is no greater achievement than to be awarded hats! Chef hats in all their puffy pleated white glory. This year marks the 36th edition of the Age Good Food awards and tonight for the third time in the history of Ballarat a couple of our favourite locals have been invited to attend at the Plaza Ballroom.
In our not so glamorous food history we have only been awarded a total of two hatted venues. The incredible La Scala in the late 70s and 80s, Alabi's in the 90s. Tonight I am incredibly excited to announce that Danielle and Damian Jones owners and chefs of Main Road's Cat Fish Thai have been awarded their first chef hat and Ballarat's third!
To win a coveted chef hat your restaurant will have been visited by an anonymous reviewer, they don't reveal their identity before or during the meal and whilst they soak up every nuance of each venue the reviewer tally's points as follows. Scores for food 8 points, wine 3 points, service 4 points, atmosphere 3 points, personality and level of comfort 2 points.
This is no surprise to Ballarat food as we are fully aware of just how incredible the Joneses and the team at Catfish are and if you are one of the local regulars please raid your bar or cooler and fill your glasses for a toast to Danielle and Damien's success.
Of course it is never too late to reserve a table and join the 1000s of local Catfish followers, in fact I would imagine things are going to be a little bit crazy on Main Road for the next 12 months, as with hats comes pressure as well as honour.
Cat fish diners can now also indulge in the new Chefs Banquet. A personalized menu The Joneses have created from the best of their combined repertoire. Here is a teaser from last Saturday Chef Banquet.
Minced chicken and prawns in palm sugar, peanuts, pineapple, mandarin
Angassi oysters, chilli & lime
Fried quail egg, sweet fish sauce, crisp shallot
Betel leaf of prawn, pomelo, ginger
Smokey salad of trout, green mango, apple eggplants, mint & lime
Chicken, young coconut, shiitake mushroom soup
Sour orange curry of snapper, vegetables, betel leaf
Stir fried Chinese broccoli, shiitake mushrooms
Roast Tarna Valley suckling pig with chilli jam
Sticky rice, mango, sweet coconut cream
Peanut icecream, chocolate rough, raspberry marshmallow
Young Coconut Ash Pudding
White chocolate mousse, poached pineapple, passion fruit, honey comb
Catfish also offer cooking classes where you can learn the art of Thai street food or perhaps the secret of a great jungle curry. Take away for the peeps who are planning a romantic night in. Full a la carte menu as well as two other banquet menus that may suit beginners to the flavours and spice of traditional Thai cuisine.
In the coming year we will see Catfish open upstairs (a work in progress). The private dining room will be perfect for occasions and small events. Presently Catfish are supporting SOTA, The Season of the Arts offering a two course dinner with a glass of local wine. The perfect foil for visitors to the Photo Biennial, The Archibald prize and the Caberet Festival. In November in conjunction with Melbourne's Good Food Festival and Ballarat's Good Food Month they will join the lively hawkers market at the Mining Exchange bringing Thai street food to the people of Ballarat.
Ballarat Food would love to add an extra little salutation. While the Joneses work tirelessly to build their dream, from the days of Lydiard Wine Bar to now they have always supported local events. Smoked tomato's for our regional platter celebrating the best of Ballarat, demonstrating Massaman curry at the Rural Lifestyle Expo or tastings of Cat fish's incredible Thai green curry at The Jiggety Jig farmers market. (check out our recipe section for the Massaman and Thai green curry)
So here's to you Catfish. With your first chef hat you have given Ballarat a gift, tourism will benefit as diners and foodies from all over Australia will seek you out, they will stay for the weekend and enjoy our boutique accommodation, they will eat at our other exceptional cafes and try the local beers, wine and produce. They will be smitten with our historic architecture and history and of course they will return.