Ocean Basket summer menu (Provided)
- Ocean Basket has launched its summer menu and it includes a sea bream fish, with its head, eyes and teeth.
- Our tasters tried both the grilled and fried offerings, and they liked the grilled version more.
- Whole fish has not been served by the brand for over two decades, and there was no more seasonal stock in just three weeks.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za
Ocean Basket launched its summer menu which includes the introduction of sea bream – complete with head, eyes and teeth – and the season’s supply ran out in the first three weeks.
Grilled sea bream (Provided)
The summer menu includes sea bream which is served whole, and customers can choose between the fried or grilled version.
The grilled sea bream is served with an orange and caper sauce, while the fried option is served with red pepper mayo. Both dishes come with fries or grilled vegetables, or a salad and each cost R155.
Ocean Basket summer menu (Provided)
Customers with a big appetite may opt for a more filling dish – the sea bream platter for one. It sells for R235.
Sea bream platter for one (Ocean Basket)
Whole fish is no stranger to Ocean Basket, as the brand offered the option in the early 90s, but only as a special. The restaurant chain was never able to put it on the menu because they couldn’t guarantee a constant supply.
“As we got bigger it got harder to predict large scale volumes and the whole fish was finally gone,” said Jean Sloane, head of strategy, marketing and menu at Ocean Basket Holdings. .
However, the ten Ocean Basket restaurants in Cyprus serve sea bream thanks to the constant supply from the Mediterranean, “and they were doing really well, so we decided to give it a try,” Sloane said.
With little expectation of the quality of the dish, the brand sold out all season’s stock in just under three weeks. The company has since found another source of supply.
We tried it – Here’s what we think
Fried sea bream looks quite dry, as fried fish should. It is crispy on the outside but soft and fresh on the inside.
Fried sea bream Ocean Basket (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
“I love the skin,” said one taster. “It gets really good and crisp but the inside is still very soft and chewy. I think they cooked it really well.”
Fried sea bream (Provided)
The taster, who was more drawn to the fried offer, said the two different textures stood out for her, but that she “would have liked the red dough to pass a bit more”.
Two of our other tasters thought “the fried is okay, but not as juicy” as its grilled counterpart.
The grilled sea bream, which looked fresher and more filling, was definitely a favorite.
Grilled Dorade (Provided)
“Definitely toasted takes the cup because it has a healthier approach to the lifestyle, and it tastes so much better,” said one taster.
Although she loved it, she thinks it would have been even better if it had been a little spicier.
“I like spicy food. I have tabasco here, so I just put a little on almost everything,”
Our other taster said he would have preferred a little more salt too, if not “the chef’s kiss,” he said.
What do we think of the head?
One taster thought that although the fish “tastes fresh, like the ocean”, he would have preferred if customers had the option of choosing whether they want it with their heads or not.
Fried sea bream head (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
“He has eyes and teeth and not many people would be happy with that,” he said.
After opening the fish’s mouth and exposing the teeth, our other taster was a little panicked. “I wouldn’t want to see that in my food,” she chuckled.
Another taster seemed to like the eyes, however. He compared the juiciness and taste to that of the bone marrow of other animals.
Grilled fish gets a 9 out of 10. “10 is great, and you know there’s always room for improvement. I would say they can’t improve, and they certainly can improve, ”agreed two tasters.
The fried dish got a five. “Aside from the fried face that looks weird, the grilled fish tasted so much better and much fresher,” said one taser.
Even after tasting the new dish, our other participant said she still preferred her salmon over fried sea bream.