and chips tastes better when there is sand between your toes
IS THERE anything more summery than fish and chips by the beach, feet buried in sand and seagulls lurking, tucking into battered goodness?
Stroll right off the St Kilda boardwalk and get your fix at Paper Fish, the kiosk built into a corner of the imposing new Stokehouse redevelopment.
Its opening last month marked the first time Stokehouse has traded since the popular beachfront restaurant burned down in January 2014. Part of a new three-venue precinct, Paper Fish has been joined by casual restaurant Pontoon, with upstairs fine-diner Stokehouse to open this month.
Stokehouse head chef Ollie Hansford has overseen the menu here, which has an emphasis on sustainable fish – salmon, gummy, flathead, blue grenadier – grilled or tempura-style.
Order at the window to take away or grab a seat in the communal area out the front under palm trees with that million-dollar view.
Chips are crinkle cut and super crispy, served in a cone with an outstanding spicy house seasoning. Or snap up the excellent coconut-covered prawn tacos or a Japanese-style potato cake with well-seasoned mash and vegies not unlike bubble-and-squeak.
Salads might run to classic Greek or caesar, or chickpea with orange and fennel, or refreshing cucumber, mint, coriander and lime.
Booze it up with surfer Mick Fanning’s Balter beer or house-made granitas with a shot of vodka or gin.
Perhaps not quite so convincing is the wine in a can on offer, though. Ditto the ordering system, which involves a staffer shouting your name to the crowds when your haul is ready. Bring on the app, due next year, with online ordering and delivery to your beach towel. And beware, menu items sell out.
That said, Paper Fish will become a part of those legendary summer nights in St Kilda. Seagulls and all.