I love fish ‘n’ chips! It was my Mum that used to make the best fish ‘n’ chips (yes, mum even made her own take-away food) for the odd occasion that we had ‘Friday fish ‘n’ chip night’ growing up. My parents are Poms, so perhaps that explains it. And that also makes it only appropriate that my pommie mate, Minger, and I are meeting for this quintessential English fare at and the new Chippy in town, The Fish Shop.
Former Bistrode chef, Jeremy Strode, is on the tools in the old Lotus site that’s now a classic seaside shabby-fishy-chic shack. Fishing paraphernalia hangs on the whitewash walls and I’m a little early for my date – thankfully the crowds I’d been warned about haven’t yet arrived.
This quote from Nutritionist, Ann Wigmore, came through on twitter while I was waiting; “The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful medicine or the slowest form of poison”. Is she trying to tell me something? That my dinner is some kind of sweet deep-fried poison? Yep.
The menu – that’s printed like the local ‘Reel News’ newspaper – calls for keen fisherman to send in a photo with their prize catch, to be hung in the Amateur Fishing Club.
To drink, Minger wants something with an umbrella – the Young coconut cocktail of Cuban rum with fresh young coconut water ($17) and I’m having a glass of the ‘Forget-Me-Not’ Sem/Sauv Blanc from McLaren Vale, SA ($7/35).
The specials blackboard boasts a selection of fish-of-the-day (that’s not deep-fried) like snapper ($24), ocean trout ($23), blue mackerel ($24) – grilled, poached in salt water and with various salsa/salads. But we’ve come here for the Fish ‘n’ chips ($18). Add to that, Dan Hong’s famous cheeseburger ($16) and the celeriac slaw ($6.50).
For anyone with concerns this famous cheeseburger wouldn’t live up to its former Lotus reputation – fear not! The bun is super soft, soaking up all the salty, meaty goodness with melted cheese, caramelised onions and gherkins. It really wasn’t big enough to share.
The flathead is flaky and moist beneath it’s golden crunchy shell and the chips have a little of their delicious earthy skins on show. It’s hitting all the spots and the celeriac slaw is just enough to cut through all the grease.
Minger reaches for the vinegar (malt of course) and we share a knowing look that just says “douse it”. I remember the fish and chip shop where I got off the afternoon school bus. In the winter months we would stop and buy fish scallops with $1 worth of chips – this usually amounted to an oily paper parcel the size of a small swaddled child. Tearing open one end, I’d drown the steaming chips with vinegar. I love fish ‘n’ chips – fish ‘n’ chips and vinegar!
Ummm, where did that second helping of Fish ‘n’ chips come from??…
The crowds are starting to file in. I like that I don’t feel like I need to roll up my greasy wrappers and get out as soon as it’s all over, but the bar stool I’m sitting on certainly isn’t encouraging me to sit for too much longer – here’s a tip, make sure you pick a comfy stool!
Minger opts for a glass of red instead of dessert, but I want the Ice cream sandwich ($8). And let the record show, she did eat half of it. Vanilla ice cream, soft chocolate biscuits and the best bit – a salted caramel sauce.
Sadly, good fish ‘n’ chips are hard to come by in Sydney. The best – and correct me if I’m wrong – is Bottom of the Harbour (Balmoral) and Bondi’s Best (North Bondi). And now, the The Fish Shop (Potts Point) too.
The Fish Shop – 22 Challis Avenue, Potts Point NSW 2011 – 02 9326 9000