Critique is an art form that requires a light touch, with a splash of irony and good humour to soften the blows.
Published March 22nd 2014
Fish-n-chips is an all-time family favourite that evokes memories of our own childhood, and lazy, hazy summers by the sea. Alas, such deep-fried flights of fancy can play havoc on our waistlines. All the more reason this rare indulgence must be delectable, delicious, decadent, and deep-fried to perfection.
There is nothing worse than disappointment. You look forward to something for so long, building up expectations, only to have that ebullient mood come crashing down in a sad and mournful heap. But maybe that's just me. I like to enjoy my food, and anticipation is half the fun.
This review was prompted by one unbelievably bad experience I recently had when I ordered the basic fish-n-chips (crumbed) from a popular local shop that specialises in fresh fish. I was so shocked that I felt compelled to investigate further. Over the next few weeks I ordered the basic fish-n-chips from other popular shops operating in and around the tourist strip. This is what I found.
Surfers are quick to tell you that the Burleigh Heads Fishmongers is a local institution. Its walls are adorned with memorabilia and many old sepia photos depicting the local surfing and fishing lifestyle back as far as 1948.
I was hoping to get a good feed of old-fashioned fish-n-chips, maybe wrapped up in a parcel of butcher's paper or even newspaper. Instead, it was a polystyrene tray covered in something that looked good, but tasted terrible.
$9.50 fish-n-chips with Dory (Burleigh Fishmongers)
The fish fillet was mushy inside the thick crumb casing, and there was something very wrong about the chips. They were floury on the inside, not very hot or crisp, and left a greasy slick on the inside of your mouth. It's as though they've been par-cooked and re-cooked in old oil that simply isn't hot enough. I sat there for a while and watched the other customers, and there were lots of chips being left behind. I won't be going back.
Lola's Fish & Chips and Pizza Takeaway (Broadbeach) 1/101 Old Burleigh Rd (cnr Armrick St), Broadbeach QLD 4218
Phone: (07) 5538 3900
Hours: Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm, 5pm-7.30pm; Sat/Sun 10.30am-7.30pm Website
Lola's Fish & Chips cooks fish-n-chips and pizza out of the same kitchen that services the adjoining Lola's Restaurant. For this reason, service can be a bit slow when both are operating at the same time. However, the constant stream of locals buying fish-n-chips and pizza between 5-6pm suggests that they know exactly what to do.
Lola's Fish & Chips and Pizza Takeaway (Broadbeach)
With a restaurant attached, one might expect the chefs to produce exceptional fish-n-chips, but that was not the case. The fish was thick and juicy, but the thick crumb was haphazardly applied and way too thick. The chips were very pale and only just cooked, and after quite a long wait, I was disappointed.
Once the restaurant started to get busy it seemed the only thing coming out of the takeaway was pizza, so my fish-n-chips took longer than expected. This was also the smallest serving delivered by any of the shops, but at $7.50 I suppose one should only expect a snack size. I particularly liked that they tell you they haven't added any salt, but plain salt and chicken salt are there on the counter if you wish to indulge.
Sorrento Seafoods is tucked away in a small village-style complex of small shops, but it was highly recommended to me by locals on Isle of Capri who maintained it was the best fish-n-chips on the coast. I confess to having eaten there a few times now, and cannot fault them. My favourite is the $12 fish, chips, and calamari, but that's another story.
The fillet was a delicious white slab of thick and juicy flesh, lightly coated in a crisp golden crumb. The piping hot chips were fresh steaming potato encased in a crisp outer skin, and believe me, there was nothing left for the opportunistic seagulls or the ever-present ibis.
Peter's Fish Market (Main Beach)
120 Seaworld Dr, Main Beach QLD 4217
Phone: (07) 5591 7747
Hours: open daily 9am-7.30pm for fresh seafood, with cooking from 12 noon. Website
Peter's Fish Market has been operating for more than 15 years, and the property looks very shabby. Nevertheless, it does have a reputation for fresh fish-n-chips. On this day, however, their basic $9 fish-n-chips was so bad it was inedible. I admit that many people choose their own fish fillet from the display case (and pay by weight), but many tourists choose the basis deal that is advertised out on the street.
This was perhaps the smallest serve from any of the fish shops, and about half the size of Sorrento's serve. The fish was drowning under a mountain of salt, and there was a distinctly stale smell to the fried crumb. The crumb had a good golden colour, and it was crisp, but the fish fillet was thin, dry, hard and discoloured.
You can tell that the fish was not freshly crumbed and had been frozen or refrigerated for a very long time. It exhibited none of the juicy flakiness or soft texture one would expect from fresh fish, or even freshly-crumbed frozen fish. In fact, the only flavour was from the fried crumb that was unpleasantly smelly.
$9 fish-n-chips with Ocean Dory (Peter's Fish Market)
You cannot see this from the photo, but the chips were pale, limp and lukewarm, as if they hadn't gone through that secondary frying. Eventhough it was a busy day, those chips were so cold they must have been sitting on the counter for an hour or more before the crumbed fish was dumped unceremoniously on top.
The meal was disgustingly inedible. It was so very obvious that the staff threw it together without showing any care and attention. Perhaps the people who paid extra and chose their own fish fillet could at least guarantee they were getting something worth eating
CHOOSE YOUR OWN FISH
Perhaps the only way to guarantee a decent feed of fish-n-chips from most places is to forgo the standard fare. Be aware that they will charge you by the weight of the fillet if you choose your own fish, but the result is generally a better quality meal. This might only add a few dollars to the price per fillet, but it can quickly add up if feeding a family. Where is your favourite fish-n-chips?
Fish Roe Gourmet Fish & Chippery - 8 Bruce Ave Paradise Point has fantastic gourmet fish and chips. The batter is delicious and crispy, they also do great grilled and crumbed fish too. Their chips are to die for and the also do sweet potato chips. Yum. We also love their made to order gourmet salads and the calamari is melt in your mouth. Friendly service and quick made to order. cheers. Natasha
What is the use of this review, when it was done 3 years ago. everything could be different now; the good may be bad and the bad may be good. there could be new owners who are doing a completely different job of their fish & chips, from the ones you bought back in 2014. This should never have been posted as an article, because it tells us nothing useful about today's fish & chips and may be criticising the wrong shops. Do it again Kate and post another article straight away, not 3 years time. For the record; The Surfers Beach Café and Take Away, next door to the Surf Club, does $5 basic fish & chips that are very good and great value. We have had many there and have always been happy.
I have been going to Fishmongers for years knowing that I will always get the best fish and chips on the Gold Coast. I always order the crumbed flake, and never disappointed. My daughter orders the barramundi and always a good piece, chips are just the best. Recommended without a doubt. Debbie
Ashmore Village Seafood's at Ashmore Plaza, Cotlew St, Gold Coast.
Fresh seafood, good size order of chips, still wrapped in paper, and burgers like no other. one of my favorite fish 'n' chips on the Gold Coast