Welcome to phase two of the revitalisation of restaurateur Walter Ventura’s mini-empire. Moving into the site formerly occupied by his own British India, Fish Head is “Malaysian-Indonesian with just a hint of Indian”.
Ventura admits the neighbouring Gouger Street strip, on which he operates four venues, had become a little dated. “We built Mesa Lunga 10 years ago, when Spanish food was really ‘in’,” he says. “Now it’s Southeast Asian flavours and Mexican that are happening.”
Having rebranded Mesa Lunga asMexican Society of Adelaide, Ventura has turned his attention to Fish Head.
The man wrangling the multitude of flavours in the kitchen is the indomitable Nu Suandokmai (Nu’s Thai, Gin Long Canteen, Cliché Exhibition). He’s joined by Rakesh Chandra – previously on the pans at British India – and Concubine’s Kenneth Ting.
The hawker menu offers Otak Otak (grilled fish wrapped in banana leaves) and next-level satay skewers, among plenty of shareable dishes. Of the larger plates, the Fish Head curry with eggplant and okra (available with or without the amphibious noggin’ on top) and grilled spatchcock with sweetcorn and tomato are standouts.
Fusion cuisine is becoming Ventura’s primary MO, as anyone who’s tasted the crispy chicken, wasabi and kimchi taco at Hispanic Mechanic or the very un-French sounding Nuang Porc salad at Cliché Exhibition will know.
Local artist Dan Withey created striking design and branding features to adorn the building inside and out. A private dining room and bar accommodates groups of up to 24.
270–276 Morphett St, Adelaide
(08) 8212 2411
Tue to Sun for dinner
Thu to Fri for lunch