Our climate is perfect for eating fish’n’chips all year-round. In summer, nothing beats having a swim or a surf and then grabbing some fresh crumbed or battered fish, hot salty chippies and a couple crispy potato scallops for good measure. Even in winter, it’s still warm enough to grab some take-away and sit by the water. Sure, there’s lots of good fish and chips by the beach, but finding quality ones in the city can be trickier. We’ve asked some of Brisbane’s best chefs to share their tips, and we’ve found there’s plenty of good ones if you know where to look.
Louis Tikaram, Stanley
For Louis Tikaram, nothing beats the freshness of the seafood at The Fish Factory in Morningside. The large retailer is perhaps best known for selling lots of fresh seafood —whole fish, oysters, crabs and lobsters — but they also serve terrific fish’n’chips in their bistro. Tikaram usually grabs it to-go and heads over to the river at Colmslie Reserve, or picks it up on the way home from his daughter’s swimming lessons.
“They have access to the freshest fish and it doesn’t even have a chance to leave the building,” Tikaram says. “The local whiting and snapper are my family’s go-to – golden-fried and served with chips and salad.”
Another family favourite for Tikaram is One Fish Two Fish in Kangaroo Point. “These guys offer a more casual take-away menu and they have the all-time classic, potato scallops,” he says. “It’s right next to Raymond Park where there is a basketball court and little skate bowl, so the whole family is happy.”
And for a little slice of nostalgia, Tikaram likes to visit Starfish in Brunswick Heads when he’s down that way. Tikaram grew up in the nearby town of Mullumbimby, and would visit Starfish after a surf at Brunswick Heads with friends. After stints cooking in Sydney and Los Angeles, he recently revisited Starfish after almost twenty years.
“When I saw Starfish busier then ever on my return, it put a smile on my face,” he says. “I took my daughter to try their famous fried calamari and it was as good as the way I remembered.”
Adam Wolfers, Gerard’s Bistro
Local fresh fish, a light batter, and a good amount of seasoning. That’s the criteria Adam Wolfers uses for fish’n’chips, and he reckons The Fish Factory ticks all the boxes.
“I go to The Fish Factory to not only get fish and chips, but also [to buy] fresh oysters, bugs and crab,” Wolfers says. “The quality of the seafood is amazing there [and sometimes they have] amazing fish from the northern parts of QLD like coral trout.”
Caroline Jones, Three Girls Skipping
A family favourite for chef Caroline Jones is The Fishery in Milton. She loves the large range of fresh Australian and New Zealand seafood including whole fish and fillets, crustaceans and shellfish. There’s also some fish fillets on display which can be picked out and cooked to order.
“If you care about where your fish comes from this is the place for you,” she says. “[It’s] very laid back and simple but so good!”
Damon Amos, Detour
The chef and owner of Woolloongabba’s Detour doesn’t eat fish’n’chips often, but when he does he likes to go to Perch’d in Coorparoo with his family. The tiny fish and chipper makes everything in-house, and it’s that quality that Amos reckons is hard to find in the suburbs. Amos orders the fish tacos with crumbed fish, salsa macha, cabbage, pickled onion, fresh herbs and lemon.
“It’s a suburban joint that delivers a premium product — it’s [fresh], uncomplicated, and well-executed,” he says. “And they have Balter’s Captain Sensible on-tap so I like to have a beer and eat-in.”
Jake Nicolson, The Ghanem Group
Jake Nicolson works with top-quality seafood at all of The Ghanem Group venues he oversees (Blackbird Bar and Grill, Boom Boom Room Izakaya, Donna Chang and Byblos Bar and Grill), so the chef knows where to find the best seafood to serve his family at home. The Fish Factory is on top of his list.
“They have a dine-in bistro and they always get the best seafood from Queensland and the surrounding areas,” Nicolson says. “You can buy anything from whole coral trout, beautiful fresh snapper and local tuna and swordfish. That’s more your higher-end seafood.”
For quality fish’n’chips closer to home, Clayfield Seafood Markets is his family’s local.
“The Clayfield Seafood Markets is more your everyday fish’n’chipper where you pick-up and takeaway in a paper bag. They’re well-known for an amazing fish burger, as well as your regular grilled, battered and steamed fish. They use real products so you’re not buying the manufactured products, just real seafood.”
Paul McGivern, La Lune Wine Co
When it comes to fish n chips, Paul McGivern likes to keep it simple. He just wants some crumbed fresh snapper, a couple potato scallops and tartare sauce.
“I have simple tastes when it comes to fish’n’chips,” McGivern says. “I just want stuff that reminds me of when I was younger.”
“You choose your fish, they put it in a plastic bag and you tell them how you want it cooked,” McGivern says. “Normally there’s lots of people there. I worked out you’ve got to go there at 11.30am or at 2.30pm, otherwise there’s a line-up out the door and around the corner.”