It may be the freshest fish in the nation. Walking 20 metres from his Lakes Entrance kitchen to the fishing boats as they pull in next to his floating restaurant, Sodafish, chef Nick Mahlook can have a John Dory on the plate within 20 minutes.
Mahlook is a local boy who learned to cook seafood under Maurice Esposito at The Stokehouse and ended up running The Atlantic at Crown, finishing there at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown in March.
He and his sister, Sam Mahlook, formerly of Miriam's seafood restaurant which she recently closed, bought the floating restaurant, once known as Ferrymans, built on the old Raymond Island ferry.
Sodafish seats 120 at bare timber tables in the simple pine-lined dining room and outdoor decks overlooking the fishing fleet, and there's a fish and chippery downstairs.
The simple modern Australian food is based on the local catch. It could be Bass Strait scallops on rosemary skewers grilled over coals, grilled whiting, boarfish ceviche, fresh pasta with cuttlefish, chorizo and samphire, and there are a couple of Gippsland grass-fed steaks.
It's not fine dining, but it is honest, regional and seasonal.
Open daily noon-10pm.
Middle Boat Harbour, Lakes Entrance, sodafish.com.au