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Whiting Escabeche with Mojo Verde and Toast

This recipe comes to us from the kitchen of  Leigh Robbins, Head Chef, Sebastian Beach Grill and Bar.

Leigh was a regular instructor at the Neff Market Kitchen Cooking School which closed in May 2020.


Ingredients – makes 8 portions

  • 500g school whiting or white fish (Kingfish, blue eye, harpuka etc.)
  • 8 sour dough slices (toasted on BBQ) 


Escabeche sauce

  • ½ large red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • ½ large carrot, quartered & thinly sliced
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground all spice
  • 2 g coriander seeds
  • pinch saffron
  • ½ orange, juiced
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • 30 ml chardonnay vinegar
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Mojo Verde

  • 10 g coriander
  • 10 g mint
  • 3 g horseradish
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 15 ml white wine vinegar
  • 15 ml verjuice
  • small pinch cumin powder
  • 100 g  whole egg mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper to taste




Firstly, prepare the marinade.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat, cook the shallots, garlic & carrots for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened but not coloured. Add the spices, salt & pepper, cook for a further minute or two before adding the orange juice, vinegar & olive oil. Bring to a simmer. Do not reduce.

Season the fish, pour warm liquid over fish and stand or refrigerate. Allow to cool in the marinade and leave overnight.

Drain fish from marinade the following day, store in container or vac pack. Keep the liquor for service.


Mojo verde

In a mortar & pestle, grind shallots and garlic until smooth, add in coriander and mint, grind again until rough paste. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the mayonnaise, mix until combined. Mix the mojo sauce with mayonnaise. Season with salt & pepper to taste.


To assemble

Spread mojo verde mayonnaise on each piece of charred bread, place fish escabeche on top, along with onion, garlic & carrots from the marinade.




Leigh Robbins

Head Chef, Sebastian Beach Grill and Bar


Leigh credits his cooking style to thorough training and the influence of his grandmother’s nostalgic, home-style recipes. His career as a chef has included work at the Kooyong Tennis Club, Le-Deck at Cap-Breton in Spain’s Basque French region and, as Executive Chef of the Radisson at Flagstaff Gardens. In 2016 the hotel won the Hospitality Magazine’s Best Restaurant Award. Leigh has also been the runner up in the Magazine’s Chef of the Year South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand competition. With more than 15 years’ experience behind him, Leigh was the perfect choice to become Head Chef of the Sebastian Beach Bar and Grill in Williamstown. Adopting a coast-to-coast philosophy, Leigh brings the best of Basque country cuisine to this beach front venue.



Sebastian Beach Grill and Bar

26 Esplanade, Williamstown 3016

03 9088 8989


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