With a corrugated iron frontage and blue and white fit-out, this little shack wouldn’t look out of place on an esplanade by the beach. So it seems odd when you cross it in Potts Point of all places.
Okay, so it’s not too far from the harbour, but the maritime theme more than makes up for the lack of sand. Staff dress in seafaring stripes, whitewashed timber and fisherman’s nets abound and the bric-a-brac seems to have been collected from the debris of a very generous shoreline. The ex-Lotus site has turned into a kind of camp shabby-chic Hamptons rather than a slice of sunburnt Australiana. And it’s still got the Merivale touch, with chef Jeremy Stode at the helm in the kitchen.
With a catch cry of ‘Fish are friends and food’, The Fish Shop completely avoids endangered and over-fished species. Instead, there’s an emphasis on fresh and local options. The menu is pleasingly erratic; dim sims sit squarely between oysters and potato scallops. If this were a bingo game of all the iterations of seafood dining, you’d be close to scoring within the first few beats of the menu.
Traditional fare includes a fisherman’s basket and the fish burger (albeit with bacon and chilli). In between are dishes like the smoky eel croquettes, salads (which go far beyond a bit of iceberg lettuce) and the cheeseburger (Dan Hong’s Lotus legacy, which The Fish Shop has inherited from its Merivale ancestor).
Unlike most fish ‘n’ chip shops, the beer and wine list here is extensive, which is impressive given their organic and biodynamic theme. Cruelly, the cocktails can’t be sipped on a stretch of sand somewhere, but they’re creative enough to be enjoyed in their own right. Daily ices or an ice cream sandwich make for a summery finish, even on a not-so-summery night. Take-away orders are welcome with open arms, making a persuasive argument for ferrying your fish to the harbour on idyllic days. Who really needs a beach?
The Fish Shop
22 Challis Avenue, Potts Point
(02) 9326 9000