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Tuesday 13 September 2016

Fish and chips by the river? Yes please.

There are few places I would less like to be trapped than Melbourne's Crown Casino complex. 

Dead eyed and desperate gamblers, over-loud drinkers, would-be gangsters looking for trouble and unsmiling bouncers add up to an ambiance I would rather avoid. 

For food lovers, however, it is a destination that is hard to beat. 

Stroll along the Crown Riverwalk on the banks of the Yarra River and your choices include Neil Perry's terrific trio of Rosetta, Rockpool Bar & Grill and Spice Temple, Nobu, Bistro Guillaume, The Atlantic and David Thompson's soon-to-arrive Som Chim. 

My usual snack option in this vicinity is a Wagyu burger and a glass of Burgundy at the Rockpool bar, but this time I opted for something different. 

Donovan Cooke's seafood temple The Atlantic has a cheap-and-cheerful offshoot, Fish & Chippery, that delivers an excellent meal at budget prices.

With a fish shack/kiosk decor (and rather uncomfortable seating; presumably to ensure no one stays too long), this is a very good option for a quick feed of fresh oysters or fish and chips with Sarson's vinegar. 

Close your eyes and imagine you are at the English seaside rather than overlooking the Yarra. 

The menu is a short, but enticing, one with six choices of fish (flake, barramundi, dory, blue grenadier, King George whiting or salmon) that can be served grilled or beer battered.

All fillets are cooked fresh, not frozen, and to order and can be ordered as a combo (with chips and tartar sauce).

My choice was a whiting fillets combo ($17.50) with a glass of French rosé ($9). Both were very satisfactory. Sides including pickled onions and mushy peas are also on offer, along with a range of healthy salads and options like salt and pepper squid ($9) and soft-shell crab ($11.50) and oysters for $36 a dozen. 

A range of dips (garlic aoili, Jalapeno ponzo etc) seemed over-valued at $2.50 but the rest of the menu seems very fairly priced. The wine list leaves little room for prevarication: rosé, pinot grigio or shiraz.

For those on a very tight budget, there is a special of $1 potato cakes every Monday. 

If you are looking for fast food with a touch of flair, you've come to the right place. Eat and move on. 

Fish & Chippery, Crown Promenade, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank, 3006. (03) 9698 8880.   


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