3/98-106 Audley St
Petersham, NSW 2049
The best fish and chips I’ve ever had? That would, without a doubt, be Blu by Australian Seafood Group. I first came across it when it was nothing but a small seafood supplier that also cooks their produce to order, and your only eat-in option was to scoff it in the parking lot. The next few years however saw it becoming so popular that it has now taken over an enormous storefront that seats over 100, and its menu has expanded to include about 20 types of fish, garlic butter crab, and spicy fish wings. It is an absolute seafood-lover’s paradise, and a regular haunt of mine that I miss dearly ever since I moved up to Sydney.
With Fish Butchery being such a pain to get out to, I thought I’d either have to dedicate an entire half day to make the trek, or just settle for average fish and chips. But then I came across Fich at Petersham. They may have the obligatory takeaway counter and a fridge full of pre-made salads, the difference here lies in the bright, whitewashed dining room just around the corner. The simple yet elegant décor is reflected in the menu; in addition to all your regulars, there’s also the option to indulge in tuna tartare and fish tacos, washed down with a nice glass of white.
The Ling Fich and Chips ($18) is the classic option here, and as I had hoped, it was well done. The batter was golden and crunchy, but light and clean-tasting enough so as to not overwhelm the delicate flavour of the chips. The accompanying chips were also well done – crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside – something much less common than you’d hope. I was especially impressed with the side of house-made tartar sauce. Instead of that weird vinegary mayo you get way too often, this was thick and creamy, with just a hint of bite from the pickles and herbs. All up, the attention to detail and good quality produce makes this a top-notch plate of fish and chips.
Speaking of well-made fried things, I just had to try the Fich Potato Cake Scallop ($3ea). This hearty, golden puck of carby goodness was satisfyingly fluffy in the middle, contrasting with the crisp batter. It’s a different experience from your usual potato cake, but if you’re a fan of deep fried potato things, this is definitely worth getting.
When given the choice however, I would almost always go for the Spring Bay Mussels ($25) over fish and chips – though many people on Instagram turned out to disagree vehemently. Although the toasted bread could be a bit fresher, and the mussels a little plumper, it was all made up for by the amazing broth. Cooked in sauce of sobrasada – a spreadable Spanish salami – and butter, this was seductively silky and rich, with an intoxicating smokiness freshened up by a handful of parsley. It may technically be too salty to drink, but that certainly didn’t stop me.
Wanting to eke out the last days of summer a little longer, the Paradise Pavlova ($14) seemed like just the right dessert for the job. Unfortunately this sounded much better on paper than it turned out to be. Although the combination of tropical fruits, sorbet, cream, and chewy meringue sounded fantastic, it just didn’t have the ripe, summery freshness that I had been hoping for. In this case, I think it really came down to the ingredients; fresh fruits, instead of canned mango, raspberry coulis, and passionfruit cream, would have made all the difference.
Although I hadn’t expected Fich to be quite as good as Blu, I still felt a little disappointed at the discrepancy between the two. With that said, it’s hard to beat a seafood supplier that has turned their hand to cooking, and Fich certainly is leaps and bounds more sophisticated than your local fish and chippery. It certainly is the best of the limited fish and chips I’ve had in Sydney to date, and worth a detour if you’re somewhere close by.
Rating: 12.5/2 – it’s potato cake.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.