Pauline Hanson’s mission to batter the reputation of fish-and-chip shops has been thwarted. Beach Bum Hawaiian Kiosk is the hippest inland seafood joint in town.
Owner Walter Ventura and manager Sarah Howell were inspired to replicate Hawaii’s laid-back North Shore street-food scene – the atmosphere, the experience and the flavours. Not an easy task when you’re positioned on one of the city's busiest dining strips, but they have an accomplished team responsible for contemporary, niche venues such as Cliché, Fish Head, Lucky Lupita’s Transit Store, Concubine and Gin Long Canteen.
It sets the scene by structuring the interior around two plywood food trucks that act as bar and service point. Covered in blue and white illustrations by Adelaide artist Henry Jarman (BRKLYM, Cliché), they form a nautical focal point.
The menu features signature Hawaiian dishes next to smart Japanese-inspired plates. Beach Bum specialises in “poke”; essentially a sushi salad that evolved from humble fisherman’s food thanks to Japanese and American influences. The diced salmon with rice is served alongside edamame, nori, pickled ginger and wasabi. There is also a vegetarian variation with silken tofu and avocado, tamari sunflower, wasabi peas and apple soy sauce.
Why haven't we seen tuna burgers before? We’re not talking about the fish-from-a-can type in your mum’s ’70s-era Women’s Weekly cookbook. Beach Bum’s take is a 120g tuna fillet, lightly seared and served on brioche with Tabasco mayo, green chilli and pineapple relish, dressed with teriyaki. With a side of mixed sweet and regular potato chips, this is a top contender for best dish.
At lunch, the kitchen turns out made-to-order bento boxes alongside panko-crumbed barramundi, Hawaiian salt and pepper tofu, and more. Shaved-ice cocktails and ice-cream sandwiches for dessert complete the beachside brief. Diners can also BYO for $12.50 corkage.