Seafood restaurant Saint Peter opened in Paddington in 2016, and its chef, Josh Niland, was lauded instantly for his innovative take on serving seafood. Fish Butchery is his retail concept, and more than just a fancy fish shop. Here you’ll find dry-aged fish, ready-to-cook seafood offal and a constantly rotating range of fish most people have never even heard of. The shop works with Nicholas Seafood and three or four individuals around Australia for a direct supply of fish.
Niland stores fish in controlled-environment dry rooms to ensure products never encounter moisture, which prolongs their shelf life. When customers choose what they want, everything’s cut to order. With Fish Butchery Niland wants to make fish mongering more sustainable and “sexy”. The shop looks like a futuristic lab, all creative lighting, glass cube workstations and high-tech features.
The glass display case shows off the day’s catch and, behind that, there’s a visible production line where Niland’s team does the butchering (either gutting, deboning, chopping or packaging the order). Everything from garfish to flounder, sardines and striped trumpeter is available, with a particular focus on lesser-known species to move people away from species that are over-fished.
The entrance is framed on one side by a tall fridge with the brightest, biggest catches hanging like Spanish hams, and on the other by an eight-option rock-oyster fridge. Another fridge holds Niland’s cured, smoked and cooked products (swordfish bacon, octopus ham and smoked-prawn sausages), and three timber shelves are filled with custom-built fish tools, preserved lemons, chutneys and branded T-shirts.
Two TVs outline prices, availability and the products not in the display case. That includes a selection of seafood offal and an up-market but still old-school takeaway hot-food section.