One chef, one maître d', one bartender, one dishwasher, and 20 seats - Fleet is highwire stuff. How does it work? How can this tiny, quietly glam wine bar hidden improbably in Brunswick Heads just north of Byron Bay be one of the top restaurants in the country? A lot of it comes down to Josh Lewis knowing where and when to push things. Mostly it's in the sourcing of his produce, typically local, frequently things overlooked by other buyers. And then, as often as not, he all but lets the produce speak for itself, a judicious garnish or two providing the simple (but perfectly apt) accent. The blue mackerel you see here are a perfect example. "These guys and other small fish like them are often overlooked as table fish and considered by most as bait," says Lewis. "But when they're fresh, they're among the tastiest fish in the ocean. This dish is incredibly simple and is probably the reason why it's a favourite both at home and at the restaurant. There's a variety of ways you can cook the mackerel, all with delicious results. I brush the skin very sparingly with oil before lightly seasoning it with sea salt. Put the fish skin-side down over a high heat; use whatever you have available, whether it be coals, a barbecue or very hot pan - the key is to blister that skin a little."
Blue mackerel and charred parsley