Fish and chips re­turn to St Kilda.

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - BY DAN STOCK

IN THE days fol­low­ing the fire that razed the Stoke­house on the eve of its 25th year, Frank van Haan­del prob­a­bly wasn’t think­ing the dis­as­ter would pro­vide him with the op­por­tu­nity to re­alise a long-held am­bi­tion. But when Pa­per Fish opens in a fort­night, he will be bring­ing fam­ily mem­o­ries of fish and chips back to the St Kilda fore­shore.

“When my chil­dren were young, once a month we’d wan­der down to the Jean Jacques’ (now Dono­vans) take­away win­dow and have fish and chips on the beach,” he says. “That’s been miss­ing on the beach for the last 20 years. It’s some­thing I’ve wanted to do for the last 10 or 15 years, but we didn’t have the space.”

The Pa­per Fish kiosk will have a sep­a­rate en­trance to the rest of the Robert Sime­oni-de­signed build­ing, which has taken al­most three years to con­struct. Ca­sual eatery Pon­toon, sched­uled to open at the end of Oc­to­ber, will be down­stairs, with up­stairs din­ing room, Stoke­house, open­ing on De­cem­ber 6.

“The nicest part is that we’ve al­most got all ar­eas cov­ered, ev­ery age group, and ev­ery bud­get,” van Haan­del says. “There’s some­thing in this build­ing for ev­ery­one.”

Billed as a pre­mium fish and chip kiosk, Pa­per Fish will of­fer a lim­ited menu made up of fish that’s as “sus­tain­able as pos­si­ble”, grilled or in a light tempura bat­ter. Crin­kle-cut chips are a nod to the ’70s, while sweet potato cakes re­flect our more health-con­scious times.

Soft-shell crab in a milk bun with sriracha mayo is the clos­est the kiosk comes to a burger, while the co­conut prawn taco is sure to prove a win­ner on St Kilda’s sum­mer nights.

“We want to bring the sea­weed, sand, salt air in­side and cap­ture that,” van Haan­del says of the menu that can be pre-or­dered via an app. “Af­ter three frus­trat­ing, an­gry years, we’re re­ally ex­cited to be back.” Pa­per Fish will open on Oc­to­ber 8. It will be open daily from noon un­til the end of Day­light Sav­ing, when it will close for six months.

Lot­tie Aaron and Leon Omichi en­joy a pre­view of the fare from Pa­per Fish.

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