Few small-town fish and chip shop owners would have a resume quite like Matt Germanchis’. He’s worked in some of Melbourne’s most prestigious restaurants, including Pei Modern, Movida, Pandora and The Press Club. In 2016, Germanchis and partner Gemma Gange swapped the Melbourne CBD for the Surf Coast, and the two opened Captain Moonlite, a seafood-centric diner that quickly became one of Victoria’s best restaurants.

Although Captain Moonlite is now closed, its popular casual offshoot, Fish by Moonlite, continues to go from strength to strength. It’s a fine diner wearing a fish’n’chipper’s clothes.

And while it might look simple (there are only about half a dozen items to choose from), the methods and recipes are anything but. Take the potato cakes for instance. They’re hand-cut from whole potatoes, then cooked in water with salt and fresh bay leaves. Battered and fried to order.

The fish of the day and calamari fly out the door here, especially in the warmer months. But if you’re staying somewhere with self-catering, you’d do well to pick up a fresh fillet and some prawns to take back with you.

Updated: August 5th, 2021

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