Paper Fish is the beachfront fish-and-chip kiosk that marks the first stage of Stokehouse St Kilda’s reopening. It opened quietly last Friday (and had an unintentionally slow first weekend as the foreshore was battered by wind and rain). Stokehouse’s second stage, casual downstairs restaurant Pontoon, will open in early November, and the upstairs fine diner will open on December 6.
This is the first time Stokehouse has traded since the iconic beachfront restaurant burned down in January 2014.
Ollie Hansford is head chef of Stokehouse Restaurant upstairs but has created the menu for Paper Fish. Beyond classics such as chips (crinkle cut with house seasoning), fish, salads and sauces, there are coconut-prawn tacos; semolina-dusted calamari; a cone of fritto misto (mixed fried fish); and kingfish wings sprinkled with togarashi (Japanese spice mix).
“Lots of restaurants throw the wings away – or the chefs eat them – but they’re so delicious,” says Hansford. “So instead of wasting them or spending food miles sending them elsewhere, we put them on the menu.”
Chefs and restaurateurs love to throw the term “sustainability” around, but Hansford has gone one further. Not only is the produce at Paper Fish responsibly sourced and sustainable, so is the packaging it’s served in and arrives from the supplier in.
“No waxed board, no polystyrene,” he says. “It’s been a real challenge, but it’s something we hope to see other venues doing too.”
There are also two types of potato cake: sweet potato and one made in a Japanese style. Potato is mashed and mixed with cooked veggies and then fried in a light, tempura-style batter.
For drinks there are three types of wine-in-a-can (sparkling rosé, sparkling moscato and white); Balter beers; San Pellegrino sodas; and house-made granitas, to which you can add an optional shot of gin or vodka.
Soon Paper Fish will launch an ordering app that will mean you can have food delivered to your spot on the beach.
Beachside, Stokehouse Precinct
30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda