Food envy. That feeling you get when you’ve ordered the dud meal and your dining companion seems to have scored the rock star meal. And so it is when we head to The Fish Shop for a Sunday lunch.
Am not really complaining about the Fish & Chips that I ordered because it was terrific, but compared to the Fish Burger I’m having diner’s remorse.
But let’s start at the beginning. Sunday at The Fish Shop is $10 Bloody Caesars and if you’re a bloody mary fan like me, you’ll enjoy this clamato version. Can understand why you might be less then keen on a beverage that has a clam floating in it, but trust me a healthy splash of Belevedere, spicy peppery juice and you’re away.
The specials are always a good call at a Fish Shop so the entrée of beautiful Flash Fried Whiting with Chilli Soy Dressing was an excellent choice. Fresh simple flavours with a perfectly balanced soy sauce dipping sauce. Tops.
We also ordered the Braised Octopus and Chorizo with Chick Peas which is a stew-y, tomato-y number which is pretty good.
Blue Eye with Chinese Eggplant is what the sous chef has ordered and it’s a beauty. No really – like a stunning bit of white fish fillet sitting elegantly next to some sticky warm eggplant. It does seem like the furthest thing from the more traditional route that I’ve gone down which is the Fish & Chips.
Strange order for me because I find eating a whole serving of fish and chips a little heavy going and I much prefer to nick a bit of fish and chips from my dining companions. It certainly wasn’t a bad choice, the chips are top notch, the fish is golden and delicious and the tartare is as good as it gets.
However the dark horse at the table today was the Crumbed Fish Burger ordered by my third dining companion, let’s call him Jon. Jon actually greeted me this Sunday morning with a text suggesting fish burgers so I really should have twigged that this was something special given he was endeavouring to lure me out of bed with it. Yummy crumbed fish with the smokiness of bacon and the hit of chilli sauce and mayo. The sample I had was smashing and I give it less than seven days before I’m back to order one of my own.
Jon also wisely pointed us in the direction of the nostalgic Potato Scallops. Much smaller and not as thin as than the ones from back in the day but a great side with the fish burger, particularly with the mandatory splash of brown vinegar.
For weeknight meals either post book club or when I can’t face the kitchen myself, The Fish Shop Specials list meets the brief for simple and satisfying feeds. The Salmon Steak with a Caper Butter with Mashed Potato is an unfussy meal just like you might make at home minus the dishes.
The weeknight favourite that I consistently order is the Snapper with Tomato & Chilli – again a simple dish well executed with a beautiful fillet and tasty sauce with the perfect hum of chilli.
It’s been a good session of eating but it’s dawned on me that we have made at least half a dozen visits to the Fish Shop and we’ve never tried dessert. With minimal persuasion from our waitress it’s one Ice Cream Sandwich and three spoons to wrap up this meal. Whether it’s better then a Golden Gaytime by the sea I’m not sure, but the lovely chocolate chipped biscuit with the vanilla mascarpone centre is far from the worth thing that’s ever happened to me It’s the quick or the dead when you’re dessert sharing with three and within minutes you are scraping the last of the salted caramel sauce from the plate.
The designer of the Fish Shop has gone a bit crazy with the fishing memorabilia and decorations to the point where you expect a giant plastic menu and an emphasis on kid-friendly nuggets to be the go. Get past that because the fresh fish, particularly the daily specials, are exactly what you’re after when you’re craving a great fish dish whether it’s a delicate main or aforementioned burger.
22 Challis Avenue, Potts Point | +61 2 9326 9000