Fish are friends and food, the menus proclaim at Merivale’s newest venue The Fish Shop, situated where Lotus used to be in Potts Point. Inspired by those idyllic seaside towns of yesteryear with a nod to retro Americana. There are cool quirky touches where ever you look, like giant sea shells on display, toilet signage marked “Buoys” and “Gulls” and especially those amazing takeaway canteen style windows in the middle of the restaurant with textured glass and painted lettering.
Jeremy Strode heads the kitchen with a focus on sustainable seafood. The menu is a mixture of beautiful fresh seafood and then the battered and fried (ie delicious) stuff. There’s something to please everyone – even the carnivores in fact, with Dan Hong’s cheeseburger still gracing the menu.
It’s only a Monday night but we throw caution to the wind and order a couple of cocktails to start. But when they arrive in cute champagne coupes they feel almost out of place here. Almost as if a paper cup with a striped wax straw would fit in better. Beth really liked her Lotus Martini, with Zubrowka Vodka, Peach Schnapps, passionfruit and apple. I was a little undecided on my Bonnie Sour, with Hendricks Gin, Pomme Verte, lime and apparently rhubarb. I couldn’t really taste the rhubarb, and almost wished I’d gone for a beer instead.
I was interested to see how a restaurant potato scallop would rate against the greasy takeaway shop kind. I’d also not had one in years and years, so it was kind of a guilty pleasure, but so worth it. The potato interior was thick, fluffy and delicious, and the batter that encased it was perfectly crisp. I’d call it a winner!
I have to admit, it felt a little wrong ordering the Cheeseburger when at The Fish Shop, but I’d heard so many good things about it that I really, really wanted to try it. Happily, it turned out to be a highlight of the meal, I’d say one of the better burgers I’ve had in Sydney in recent times. I guess it’s easy to see why it’s famous, or rather infamous!
Perhaps they just paled in comparison to the burger (most things would, for the record) but I was a little underwhelmed by the Fish and Chips. The batter was a little soggy (especially when compared to the super crisp potato scallop) but a splash of malt vinegar livened up the taste. I wish there was some mushy peas to go with it! The chips were nice, clearly homemade with the skins still on and the tartare sauce in a little jar was a cute touch. I was expecting this dish to be the standout and it was actually our least favourite.
The ice cream sandwich is clearly the dessert of 2012, appearing on restaurant menus all over Sydney. Caramel sauce seems to be the accompaniment of choice for most places too. I liked the chocolate biscuit/brownie that wasn’t too crunchy that gave way to the creamy ice cream sandwiched within. I may be somewhat biased, but I’m still very much in love with the one at Bungalow 8, with its passionfruit sauce and peanut brittle for that awesome textural contrast that this one might have just been slightly lacking.
The Fish Shop would be a great place to go with a group of friends (however they don’t take bookings so go early!) so you can try a whole bunch of different dishes.
The staff were very friendly and service was quick and attentive. I also liked their stripy uniforms!
There were a few big hits and a couple of misses in terms of the food itself, but I still had a lovely dinner and will be back in the future. We barely made a dent in the menu, and there’s still lots of great things to try. I like the sound of the Blue Eye fish and chips, and the smoked salmon sandwich! Apparently they also do takeaway, which is a little bit dangerous with my office being so close!
The Fish Shop, 22 Challis Ave, Potts Point (02) 9326 9000