Chip and cheerful
Sea salts: Diners on the deck at the Flying Fish Cafe at Port Elliot in South Australia await a delicious serve of freshly caught fish and chips with a light, plain or peri peri batter, or grilled or crumbed with various seasonings. The children will be clamouring for traditional battered snapper or hake and handfuls of chips, but the Groper (plus Wife) offers a reassuring range of high-quality seafood alternatives.
There are fresh or cooked oysters, salmon patties and those ubiquitous crab sticks. Best pick is Groper’s large stuffed prawns with spinach mousse, seasoned with pine nuts and garlic, then battered and deep-fried. Pick out an entree of Southern Ocean squid in hearty Italian sauces and a selection of salads, and you can walk away with an entire dinner party menu at this superior local fish shop. (08) 9385 7384. Victoria Laurie Mohr Fish, Surry Hills, NSW: This tiny Devonshire Street eatery in Sydney’s inner-east is not somewhere to settle in for a long and leisurely fish supper. The former butcher’s shop is set up for a quick turnaround: bar stools on which to perch, high steel-topped tables, a nobookings policy. But if you nab yourself a spot for lunch or dinner (if there’s a queue you can wait at the pub next door), it’ll be worth a bit of discomfort.
Mohr Fish has an excellent selection of fish — from dory and blue eye to swordfish and perch, according to availability — all simply and expertly cooked with accompaniments such as roasted peppers, tomato, olives and beans, or avocado salsa and gratin potatoes. If you fancy more than fish and chips, the entrees list runs the gamut of delicious prawn and fish dumplings in chilli soy sauce to gravlax, bouillabaisse or cured sardines.
Dishes are affordable — it’s BYO, too — and service is speedy. There may be no beach views, no sand tramped over the tiled flooring and not a surfboard in sight, but this city-based fish and chippy can hold its own with the best of them. www.mohrfish.com.au. Michelle Rowe