Eating fish and chips in Brisbane was once an inconsistent experience. For every perfectly fried piece of barra there was a grumpy bloke selling supermarket mackerel covered in chicken salt. But a new wave of outlets is raising the bar for a quality chipper. Here are 10 of the very best.
Jellyfish’s menu is extensive – on any given day this slick riverside diner offers between eight and 14 different species of fish. But it’s the goldband snapper we’re here for: fried in a soda batter and served with either shoestring fries or chips with malt vinegar. Your batter and crumb options are varied – beer, saffron and curry batters and parmesan, panko and sesame seed crumbs are all available – and you can draft in Lyonnaise potato with caramelised onion or a baked pear and kale salad to replace the chippies. It’s not cheap but it is exceptional.
Riverside Centre, 123 Eagle Street, Brisbane; (07) 3220 2202
Chumley Warner’s Traditional British Fish & Chips
Brisbane’s bayside suburbs go on forever and so do the fish and chip shops. For something out of the ordinary, try Chumley Warner’s. A traditional British fish and chippery, it serves up big slabs of specially imported cod and haddock from the North Atlantic and cones of crisp chips. It’s a very English experience, right down to the mushy peas, pork pies and rush of steam that escapes when you break open the bundle at nearby Waterloo Bay.
Shop 8 / 190 Birkdale Road, Birkdale; (07) 3822 7787
The team behind Ol’ School has thought of everything. Tables are stocked with malt vinegar and hot sauce; fabulous hand-cut chips are dished up to diners on greaseproof paper; and complimentary pickles and lemon wedges are all part of the service. But it’s not complicated – the battered or grilled fish is whatever was freshest at the market that day and comes with either chips or a green salad. Once you’ve ordered the essentials, explore other options such as calamari butties, dim sum and fish tacos.
58 Hope Street, South Brisbane; 0402 360 432
Banter Bar & Seafood
Newly opened Banter is far removed from crabsticks and squeezy tartare. The pet project of Craig Singleton, whose family owns the iconic Pineapple Hotel across the road, Banter is pitched as a bar with a seafood menu attached. But look around this beautiful old Queenslander shop and you’ll see what people are really here for: generous plates of crisply fried snapper, whiting and barramundi or perhaps a “posh fish finger sandwich”, a neat stack of crumbed cod and mixed greens. Whatever you order, enjoy it on the shady back deck overlooking Raymond Park.
708 Main Street, Kangaroo Point; (07) 3391 7680
Clayfield Seafood Markets
An early 2016 change in ownership transformed this suburban takeaway joint into a locally focused north-side go-to for fish and chips. The fish is all high-quality snapper, barramundi, salmon or hoki that’s sourced regionally; boned and filleted on-site; and deep-fried in a Newstead Brewing Co. amber ale batter (or panko crumbs, if you prefer). Clayfield Seafood Markets even opens for breakfast, peddling a smoked salmon and fried egg burger, best washed down with espresso by award-winning Bellissimo Coffee.
5 / 823 Sandgate Road, Brisbane; (07) 3262 6279
The Boat Shed
Much of The Boat Shed’s charm is its location: 35 minutes north of the city, Scarborough has developed into one of Brisbane’s prettiest bayside suburbs. Once there, you’ll find generous serves of quality seafood, cooked golden-brown in a light, crisp tempura batter and finished with corncobs and sweet potato crisps. No seats? No sweat. Scarborough Beach Park across the road has terrific views out towards Moreton Island.
63 Landsborough Avenue, Scarborough; (07) 3880 0555
Blue Ocean Seafood
An unassuming contender for Brisbane’s best fish and chips, Blue Ocean Seafood isn’t much to look at but it definitely over-delivers on delicious fresh fish (best ordered grilled or crumbed), simple, vibrant salads and melt-in-the-mouth calamari. Blue Ocean’s killer feature, though, is its burger menu. Try the fish burger and upgrade the cod to snapper – you’ll never look at a Filet-o-Fish the same way again.
5/380 Cavendish Road, Coorparoo; (07) 3397 8027
The Fishmonger’s Wife
For years an East Brisbane institution for rarefied fish and chips, The Fishmonger’s Wife moved to new premises in leafy Hawthorne, an atmospheric bolthole replaced by a breezy shopfront and modern, wood-lined dining room. Really, though, the punters don’t care about the decor, they come for the food: Moroccan-grilled barramundi, say, or lemongrass snapper with a Thai salad. Gluten-free batters done in a dedicated fryer and rice are available for coeliacs.
48 Orchard Street, Hawthorne; (07) 3899 5873
St Kilda import Paper Fish brings classy fish and chips to South Bank, one of Brisbane’s busiest tourist hubs. The shop itself is inviting enough but this is really about ordering take away and enjoying it in the parklands opposite. The shop serves up baskets of generously battered blue grenadier or barramundi, served with lightly fried, crinkle-cut chips. For something different, try Paper Fish’s enormously popular coconut-prawn tacos.
Shop 7 / 180 Little Stanley Street, South Bank
Competition among fish and chip shops is fierce in Sandgate and Shorncliffe, a windswept part of the northern coast popular with locals looking to cool down on a humid day. Sandgate Fishmonger is arguably the pick of the bunch with fresh barramundi, cod or snapper cooked in a crunchy batter that’s just as good when you ask for it gluten free. The real star, though, is the calamari: soft, tasty and delivered in generous serves. Pack a blanket so you can take your feast to the beachside park opposite.
90 Flinders Parade, Sandgate; (07) 3269 0416
Top image: Ol’ School