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There’s something fishy going on in Canberra…

By Alexandra Craig - 8 August 2014 25

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As a kid, fish and chips were always a family favourite once a fortnight for a dinner treat or whilst on a picnic with friends. I grew up about five minutes away from the beach so there were about 10 different fish and chips shops that we could pick from.

In the almost four years I’ve been in Canberra I’ve had a near-constant craving for fish and chips. All that salty, battery, deep fried, lemony goodness. Absolutely terrible for your arteries but your tastebuds love it. Canberra is severely lacking in fish and chips shops! The only one I know of is just across the border in Queanbeyan at the little Karabar mall. From the few times I went there, everything was great except their fish. It was kind of floury and over battered. I have been told that there used to be a couple of places out Belconnen and Tuggeranong way but have inconsistent trading hours.

In the lead up to penning this piece, I asked a few Canberra-based friends if they had noticed the lack of fish and chips in the Capital and it seems I am not alone. Most people I spoke to had an immediate reaction of sheer disappointment that this deep fried deliciousness wasn’t really a ‘thing’ in Canberra. I assumed that perhaps this is because fish and chips are a ‘coastal’ food, but some of the people I spoke to were from country New South Wales and western parts of Sydney and they had a handful of fish and chips shops there.

I’ve always thought that if you opened up a little fish and chip takeaway store down at Lake Burley Griffin, possibly near Waters Edge restaurant, (I know there is a small takeaway shop down near the bike hire but from what I can remember they only do burgers) it would make an absolute killing in summer and on the evenings of public events like SkyFire. You could add on a little gelato bar and you’re set. There are not many options for food when you are down at the lake for a bike ride or walking your dog so I think a new addition of fish and chips would go well. However, in the middle of winter on an icy-cold Canberra night I don’t think customers would be fighting each other to get down to the lake for a piece of barramundi, so business might lag some months of the year.

So where are all the fish and chips shops hiding? Do they exist? Or do Canberrans not share the same love of potato scallops and calamari and chips with chicken salt that I do?

If there is an amazing fish and chip shop tucked away in an obscure suburb I would love to know about it.

What’s Your opinion?


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25 Responses to
There’s something fishy going on in Canberra…
1
James McMahon 9:46 am
08 Aug 14
#

The best was Flatheads at O’Connor shops. However they were squeezed out by new landlord – The Duxton. Shame really. Although The Duxton serves up a coopers pale ale battered fish and chips that I really rate. You also have the Fishshack in the city, which has a great chowder (when on the specials). Peppered prawn Woden – mixed reviews. If still around? Theos at Charnwood shops.

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2
b2 10:26 am
08 Aug 14
#

Agree with James, Flatheads was by far the best.
Dickson Seafoods is not bad. Lyneham takeaway is no good (and close at 1pm on Saturday?!). Everyone raves about Watson Takeaway, but I’m not convinced.The fresh fish place in the Canberra Centre and one of the ones at Fyshwick markets do a pretty roaring trade over lunch and the fish is good! The Fish Shack in the city is pretty good, nice variation of the different coatings (beer battered, tempura battered, crumbed etc).

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3
Mess 10:46 am
08 Aug 14
#

Most local shopping centres have a fish and chip shop and Fish Shack in the city is also very good, and not far from your Braddon bubble.

Failing that making your own beer batter is dead easy and you can knock up your own fish and chips in the same time it will take to drive to the shops and back.

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4
Milo11 10:56 am
08 Aug 14
#

Steves at Melba shops go alright, or atleast they did when I lived around there.

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5
HardBallGets 11:11 am
08 Aug 14
#

James knows. Flatheads was the best.

It’s been a while, but Naked Fish in Mawson has always been pretty good.

A decent chippie offers a range of fresh fish options. The only time I got fish and chips from my local, I asked what kinds of fish they had. They said “battered, crumbed, grilled”.

An old thread might be useful reading. Not sure how current the advice is.
http://the-riotact.com/best-fish-and-chips-updated-can-anyone-compete-with-bernie/52388

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6
Alexandra Craig 11:14 am
08 Aug 14
#

James McMahon said :

The best was Flatheads at O’Connor shops. However they were squeezed out by new landlord – The Duxton. Shame really. Although The Duxton serves up a coopers pale ale battered fish and chips that I really rate. You also have the Fishshack in the city, which has a great chowder (when on the specials). Peppered prawn Woden – mixed reviews. If still around? Theos at Charnwood shops.

Mess said :

Most local shopping centres have a fish and chip shop and Fish Shack in the city is also very good, and not far from your Braddon bubble.

Failing that making your own beer batter is dead easy and you can knock up your own fish and chips in the same time it will take to drive to the shops and back.

Ooooo I’ve never heard of this Fishshack place – I’m in the city a fair bit too. I will have to investigate.

I’m not the best cook unfortunately. I get really flustered and panicked at even the most basic dishes – therefore I am a perfect contestant for Masterchef!

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7
Casiola 11:42 am
08 Aug 14
#

Milo11 said :

Steves at Melba shops go alright, or atleast they did when I lived around there.

Steve’s is the place to go. Sadly he told me this will be his last year after 21 years at Melba as he is retiring. Get in there before it’s gone.

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8
Casiola 11:45 am
08 Aug 14
#

James McMahon said :

The best was Flatheads at O’Connor shops. However they were squeezed out by new landlord – The Duxton. Shame really. Although The Duxton serves up a coopers pale ale battered fish and chips that I really rate. You also have the Fishshack in the city, which has a great chowder (when on the specials). Peppered prawn Woden – mixed reviews. If still around? Theos at Charnwood shops.

Flatheads was terrible and Theo’s changed to “Bernie’s from the Bay” a long time ago.

Bernie’s used to have the famous “best chips in Canberra” as they used to be hand cut, Mark Parton carried on about them for a while. Now they are just frozen chips and not worth mentioning. Their fish is average at best at their South Coast and Charnwood stores too.

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9
Grail 11:51 am
08 Aug 14
#

There’s a “traditional” takeaway shop at Isabella Plains: fish & chips, pizza and all the glass bay-marie and stainless steel extractor hood goodness you remember from your youth. We’re a little further away from the beach than the paradise of your youth though :)

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10
Madam Cholet 12:18 pm
08 Aug 14
#

the best that I know of is the one at Fyshwick markets which also sells the fresh fish. The one at the lake in the Southern Cross club complex is woeful, but it’s a nice spot so you tend to subject yourself to it once a year.

We have a place 3 hours down the coast and you can’t even get good fish and chips there. I grew up in the UK so am keen on good fish and chips. There’s definitely room in the Canberra market if anyone is thinking of it.

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11
JessP 1:13 pm
08 Aug 14
#

Evatt Fish and Chips is great! Do a nice pizza too!

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12
Holden Caulfield 1:57 pm
08 Aug 14
#

The issue with fish’n’chips in Canberra seems to be consistency.

Flatheads WAS very good, but the quality went south way before any pressure (real or otherwise) came from Duxton.

Similarly, I’ve raved about the Fish Shack on these pages in the past but the last two times I went (around 9 months ago at a guess) the standard was well below what I had come to expect. Which is a shame because they were usually very good.

Another option, which can be okay and does provide a nice Canberra experience is the fish’n’chip shop at the Canberra Yacht Club in Yarralumla. During the summer months/daylight savings they open up the side of their kitchen, sort of facing the car park, and you order your food and can then dine on the grass area in front of the lake. It can be a very pleasant way to spend the evening.

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13
Holden Caulfield 2:00 pm
08 Aug 14
#

Madam Cholet said :

the best that I know of is the one at Fyshwick markets which also sells the fresh fish. The one at the lake in the Southern Cross club complex is woeful, but it’s a nice spot so you tend to subject yourself to it once a year.

Fyshwick Markets is pretty good, I agree.

Although, based on local competition I would say the Yacht Club is far from woeful. Perhaps in Adelaide, for example, where great fish’n’chips is pretty easy to come by woeful might be an apt description, but not in Canberra, haha.

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14
astrojax 2:46 pm
08 Aug 14
#

watson takeaway, b2’s comment notwithstanding, is pretty consistent and do a pretty good trade. good chips. and you can buy beer there.

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15
excession 3:06 pm
08 Aug 14
#

Torrens Fish and Chip shop. Excellent hamburgers, pretty nice pizza, and consistent fish and chips.

We have tried Fisher fish and chips and they’re terrible. Same with Chifley Fish and Chips, yuk! Torrens comes through tops each time.

Since you’re looking northside, I guess that’s your bad luck :)

Anyone in Woden area, should at least give Torrens Fish and Chips a go one night. They are open Tuesday to Sunday, they stop taking orders about 7pm during the week, and 8pm on the weekends.

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