- Melbourne's top 10 fish and chips
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There are two kinds of fish and chippers: those that are a time warp back to the '70s and those that have evolved with demand. Customers are increasingly choosing the grill over the fryer and swapping chips for brown rice. Hunky Dory was the first to take a health-conscious approach when it opened in 2004 and with good reason – while researching this article I became a case study of what happens when you consume battered fish and chips more than twice a day (headaches, mood swings and the kind of pimples that should be restricted to teens). Here are some more wholesome eats from the top 10 fish and chippers.
Australian Seafood Fish and Chippery
At $10, the grill pack here is especially good value. You can opt for rice instead of fries, but if you're not ready to part with the golden batons of starchy joy, at least they come with a refreshing salad. Flake is the default, but for a little extra there's also snapper, flathead and King George whiting.
11 Hossack Avenue, Coburg North, 03 9354 1947
"When I started serving the super salad two years ago everyone thought I was nuts,"John Stamoulis says. Now the super salad – with quinoa, red and green kale, beetroot, pomegranate and more – is one of the most popular menu items ($8.50 for a bowl). Try it with rice and a skewer of plump, marinated scallops ($16.50 for the lot).
Shop 3, 1-3 Carre Street, Elsternwick, 03 9077 8815; also at 574A Main Street, Mordialloc, 03 9580 2525
Theo's Fish Bar
Theo's goes a step beyond the grilled fish combo and offers a baked salmon pack ($17.50, pictured above). It too comes with salad and brown rice (or chips), but if the steamed vegetable salad is available, it takes this pack from healthy to hearty.
165 Upper Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe, 03 9497 3541
TANK Fish & Chips
The spotless display here features rotating salads ranging from pumpkin and feta to cabbage slaw. Diners can make a meal of their favourite by ordering the prawn salad ($16.50), a salad of your choice topped with grilled tiger prawns and avocado, served with chilli tomato sauce on the side ($16.50).
Emporium food court, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD, 03 9020 4342; also at 149-151 Lygon Street, Carlton, 03 9040 2124
Ebi Fine Foods
Aside from fish and chips, Ebi is known among locals for its bento boxes. Each comes with rice, salad, marinated vegetables and pickles and is loaded with umami. Try the "3Fish3Ways" bento – at the time of writing, grilled togarashi-crusted tuna, steamed snapper in mirin soy and panko perch were on offer. Specials are updated daily on Ebi's Facebook page.
18A Essex Street, Footscray, 03 9689 3300
Oakleigh Fish & Chippery
For an extra 30¢, this fish and chipper will grill your catch of choice, including barramundi and sea perch ($8.30). But it's the Greek salad ($5.50 or $7) that people travel for. Made with Dodoni feta, the specifics of the dressing are a strictly guarded family secret. Trust me, I tried.
45 Chester Street, Oakleigh, 03 9568 3868
Keeping it in the ocean, Richmond Oysters offers a generous octopus salad with oregano, watercress and radicchio ($19). The octopus is tenderised and char-grilled, adding a smoky edge to the sharp shallot and red wine vinaigrette.
437-443 Church Street, Richmond, 9428 5121
The Crispy Catch Fish & Chips
Meat lovers will be thrilled to know that The Crispy Catch does a protein-packed option for those steering clear of carbs. The gyros packs (either lamb, chicken or mixed) have staff scrape meat straight off the charcoal spit. Pair it with garlic sauce and a fresh salad for $12 and leave the food regrets behind.
9/854 Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully, 03 9758 0700
There's plenty for the health conscious here, especially with the introduction of the new menu, courtesy of head chef Yenni Gunawan (ex Donovans, Rockpool and St Ali). The world flavours section lets you choose your favourite spice or marinade on two grilled fish fillets – ranging from African chermoula through to miso teriyaki – served with salad (from $18.90).
181 Bay Street, Port Melbourne, 03 9646 1020; see hunkydory.com.au for other locations
The fish wrap here is a great on-the-go option: a fillet of blue grenadier, wild rocket, tomato, Spanish onion and tartare rolled up in traditional pita ($9.90). Alternatively, treat yourself to chilli crab without the price tag, served with steamed rice for a very reasonable $14.90.
20 Church Street, Brighton, 03 9592 0697