For a long time, fish-and-chip shops in Sydney followed the same formula: grilled or battered fish, a few burgers (some with beetroot or pineapple), a fish of the day and deep-fried everything else. Time to let that template die.
The idea is to combine the classic elements of a takeaway fish-and-chip shop with a more up-market fish restaurant. “I want people to think of this as a local fish and chippery but, how do you say it? A little bit better,” says Silva, laughing.
The space is literally split in two. On one side there’s an austere counter, a glass display for salads and one of those big black menus with magnetised letters. On the other is the restaurant.
The takeaway menu is simple. There are deluxe versions of all the fish-and-chip shop classics (with seafood supplied by Southern Fresh Seafood) plus a few extras, such as a crumbed bacalhau burger (dried and salted cod), poke, fish toast (like prawn toast but with added fish) and polenta chips with anchovy mayo. “I grew up near here. I went to the greasy fish shops. I wanted this to have all the things you get after school,” says Silva.
You’ll find all the same things next door in the dining room, which has been designed by Basia Jerzyk Silva. Thanks to the light-timber furniture and almost bare walls (the exception being the huge fish mural on the far wall), it looks more like a new trendy cafe – minus the copper piping and hanging plants.
The menu is predictably more elaborate on this side of the venue, too. What you’ve already seen from the takeout counter is joined by a skate schnitzel; a Filipino-inspired ceviche with kingfish, coconut, cucumber and pomelo; Grifter beers on tap and a short wine list focused on reasonably priced locals, but with a few intriguing foreigners and naturals thrown in. “There is a price difference but it’s not much. We don’t want it to be over the top fancy. It’s still a casual restaurant. It’s food we like to eat,” says Silva.