Fish and Chips With a Twist
When I was a kid, fish and chips came exclusively wrapped in old newspapers. Although it was probably a good form of recycling, the acidic vinegar splashed over the contents meant that you were usually consuming a couple of paragraphs of weeks-old news, as well as weeks-old fish, covered in weeks-old oil. Thankfully, there is no risk of encountering any of these issues at the newly opened Fish Shop in Bondi. This modern take on an old-school fish shop retains all the joys of the traditional fish and chips experience, but with a healthy, exotic twist.
Over the past few years, it has felt as if the Mafia and Mexican cartels have taken control of the Bondi food scene. Nearly every new opening has specialised in either tacos and margaritas, or pizza and pasta (no offence intended towards any of these new restaurants, nor the Mafia and cartels). Joint owners Nathan Delah, Nic Pestalozzi and Casper Ettelson are three brave men standing up to these gangs and bucking the trend. There is a high chance that these guys have also helped to whip more than one of your sloppy rigs into some sort of reasonable shape. This is because the trio are the same men behind the hugely successful Fishbowl. Their latest venture isn’t too far away, located in the new Sevenways precinct on the corner of Glenayr and Warners Avenues.
The Fishbowl boys are not ones for thinking up creative names for their eateries, preferring to let their menus do the talking. We sat barside to watch Head Chef Joel Bennetts (formally Peppe’s) do his thing. With his dark, wavy hair, cut-off sleeves and bling, he resembled a young Casey Ryback as he wielded his knife in the kitchen (albeit a much friendlier version). The industrial interior of Fish Shop adds to the Under Siege vibe, but instead of preventing a group of mercenaries from stealing nuclear weapons, Bennetts is shucking fresh oysters, slicing ever-changing sashimi and stacking healthy-ish fish burgers.
The Mediterranean-inspired menu is pretty fluid, depending on whatever is biting, but you can always rely on getting some good old fish ‘n’ chips (hold the ink). Anchovies are perhaps the most polarising of all marine creatures, but I love ‘em. If you’ve an educated palate, kick things off with the anchovy toast. It’s thicker than a dugong’s rear-end and serves as the perfect platform for those contentious little suckers. If you’re on the other side of the fence, have a few cocktails or glasses of wine beforehand to help muster up some courage.
Fish Shop is open for walk-ins and take-away, seven days a week. You can complete the fish’s cyclical narrative by making the short walk down to the beach, or you can ask for a picnic blanket and sit across the road in the miniature park. Either way, it will be a lot more relaxing than the battleship Missouri. Given you’re in Bondi, you should still expect to see a few posers dressed as rock stars getting around.
Address 87–89 Glenayr Avenue, Bondi Beach
Open 7 days, 12-10pm (takeaway before 5.30 weekdays)
Prices Fish Burger $16, Anchovy Toast $5, Oysters $5, Drinks $12-$15
Cards Master, Visa, Amex