How do you have your fish’n’chips? Regular salt or chicken salt – or both? A squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar? Grilled or fried? Flake, rockling, barra, or something else entirely? And just as important – where do you get it?
We asked some of Melbourne’s top chefs for their go-to fish’n’chippers, as well as their usual orders. Some are loyalists, while others enjoy scallop, crabstick and even lobster on the side – but all seek out super-fresh, high-quality fish and ultra-crisp batter.
Ben Shewry, Attica
Sometimes some shops have a sustainable option, and then sometimes they don’t. And I, of course, eat accordingly – if there’s no sustainable fish then there’s no fish’n’chips for me or my family. My advice to people who are eating fish’n’chips is to download the Goodfish app and check the species that their fish’n’chip shop has available. If none of them are in the green list, then ask the retailer why. I’d also tell them to Give Flake a Break!”
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TAKE THE SURVEYCoskun Uysal, Tulum
My favourite fish’n’chips is from Pipi’s Kiosk. It’s on the Albert Park foreshore, right on the beach running towards St Kilda Beach. It hits all the right buttons: fresh, hot and very crispy batter. And the chips are so tasty, crunchy and dusted with saltbush powder – same same but different.”
McKay Wilday, Alta Tattoria
I’m a big fan of Northern Soul down in St Kilda. It’s the closest thing to British-style fish and chips I’ve found in Melbourne since my adventures and travels there.
You can’t go wrong with a serving of their battered fish, hand-cut chips, a side of mushy peas and all the dipping sauces you could think of. I’m a sucker for the potato scallops and curry sauce.
Jerry Mai, St. Cloud Eating House
My wife loves fish’n’chips! We go to our local fish’n’chip shop, King George’s Seafood and Oysters, on Station Street in Fairfield. It’s a small family business and the batter is light and crispy. My wife always goes for the flake, and I love getting fried crabstick and a fried hotdog. If I’m having dirty fish’n’chips, I go all the way!
Helly Raichura, Enter via Laundry
I love the fish rolls from Dandenong MKS Spices’n Things. They’re not totally fish‘n’chips, but they’re close.
Fish with spices is served in this soft pastry with a crunchy outer casing. It comes with coconut chutney and is fucking delicious. I also pair it with badam milk [milk infused with almond, saffron and cardamom]. MKS is an unsung hero of south Indian cuisine. They have years of experience, the technique is always correct and there’s no messing around.
Steve Chan, Sleepy’s Cafe and Wine Bar
Freddy's Fish and Chips a few doors down [from Sleepy’s] never does us wrong.
Super genuine, classic fish‘n’chips, done well and with heart. [The owner] Freddy’s burgers are low-key fucking amazing too – and he's super proud of them – you can taste his pride. A low-key local legend.
Lisa Valmorbida, Pidapipo
Shane Delia, Maha
I’m a big fish’n’chip lover, and for me, you can’t go past an old-school chipper. My favourite places are Joe’s Fish’n’Chips in Brunswick West, Hobsons Bay Fish and Chips in Williamstown, and Scalable in Essendon.
I don’t want all the fancy new-school stuff … Just keep it simple, deep-fried and crunchy. I’m after a good slice of flake with a really crunchy batter. No paper-thin, soggy, pale, pre-battered cardboard.
I also order fried dimmies; seafood sticks; potato cakes (made with actual, real potatoes); battered onion and calamari rings … And I get chips that have been defrosted and then fried so that they’re crunchy and gnarly.
I keep the seasonings simple. No lemon, no vinegar – and tomato sauce is for kids. I just go for salt and lots of it. If I’m feeling frisky, I may even get adventurous and ask for chicken salt.
Alejandro Saravia, Farmer’s Daughters and Victoria
My favourite place to go and grab my fish’n’chips has to be the Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-Op restaurant. The whole experience is amazing, tucked in the back of the Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-Op processing space. And the view of the bay sets the perfect scene for the freshest fish straight from the boats to the batter, to the fryer and to the table. Alan, the Co-Op manager, is a legend, as well as the rest of the team – make sure you say hi and you might get a look at the lobster tanks in the back or an entertaining story.
Nicola Dusi, The Hardware Club
We normally go to The Kiosk d’Asporto at Williamstown Beach. They are not exactly a fish’n’chips spot … they also serve all sorts of absolutely delicious things such as crusty ciabatta rolls, freshly baked pastries and some amazing Italian coffee. The variety and the quality of everything they do is always amazing. They make standard fish’n’chips and make no variation to the order, so you know it’s going to be good. You can order … and go sit on the beach five metres away. They also have a couple of pizza shops that make my absolute favourite pizza in Melbourne.
Maria Kabal, ex-Spensley’s
My favourite place in Melbourne is Pipi’s Kiosk in Albert Park: fresh, tasty and the perfect location to sit on the beach and enjoy. In regional Victoria, Fish by Moonlite in Anglesea is a must!” [Editor’s note: Fish by Moonlite changed hands since publication.]
Barry Susanto, Warkop
My favourite place for fish’n’chips in Melbourne is Off the Pier in Williamstown. You can’t beat an old-school fish’n’chip shop. I usually go for the family pack and share it with just one other person. Why hold back when you’ve already committed to eating a deep-fried meal anyway? And don’t forget about the extra helping of chicken salt.
Daniel Pineda, Superchido
My favourite place is Pines Fish and Chips in Altona on Pier Street. Their food invokes strong memories of my good times as a young teen, chilling at Altona Beach, without any cares. They’ve been offering good, solid fish’n’chips for ages.
Additional reporting by Audrey Payne
This article was originally published on December 2, 2021. It has been updated to reflect new information and remove out-of-date details.