The Docklands area is frequently a howling maze of wind tunnels and last Sunday was no exception. We did manage a brief dalliance with the sun along the boardwalks but once it'd lost its standoff with the lengthening shadows of the surrounding apartment highrises, we were eager to find somewhere sheltered for a bite to eat. Fish Bar is a liquor-licensed fish and chippery (love that term) and sushi bar that occupies an impressive new-age kiosk-like structure seemingly perched over water at the NewQuay precinct. Seafood cooked to order can either be taken away, or eaten on premises on light aluminium furniture set up within a large shaded area outside. By luck or design, the area outside Fish Bar offered a calm enough spot away from the brunt of the rather icy winds while still remaining outdoors so we were persuaded to stop. We ordered the Seafood Pack ($17.50) which consisted of a serving of chips topped with 3 large crumbed calamari rings, 2 each of battered scallops and prawns, and a fillet of generic fish (the ubiquitous blue grenadier). We also got an additional fillet of Flake (gummy shark) ($5.95) to fill in the gaps. The fish could be cooked either battered, crumbed or grilled so we chose to try ours battered.
As far as a civilised meal of Fish and Chips go, what we had at Fish Bar was pretty good. The seafood served casually on open cardboard-containers was not too greasy and had spent just the right amount of time in the fryer...clean tasting cottonseed oil is used. Our fillets of fish were lightly veiled with a crisp, almost tempura-like batter which we thought was excellent, and the fish were obviously fresh with tasty flakes of moist flesh. The rest of the seafood was also quality; firm plump scallops with rich coral still attached, fresh tasting prawns and large but tender rings of real calamari. The traditional square-cut chips didn't let the pack down either, crispy exteriors and soft inside...no pedestrian over-fried shoestrings anywhere in sight here!
It was past the meal-time peak and quiet when we visited but the counter-cum-kitchen staff were young, efficient and amiable, one cheerfully helped me bring our meal to the table outside. Fish Bar also offers a choice of salads if you desire something green with your fry-up, and beers and wines are available to accompany your meal. Not exactly fish'n'chips on butcher's paper at the beach with a shimmering ocean as backdrop but not a bad spot for some people watching over fried seafood all the same.
Food: 4.5 spots - Good fish and chips.
Service: 3.5 spots.
Value: 3.5 spots - Not bad for upmarket fry-up.
R-Factor: 4 spots.
Spot Score: 16/20
25 NewQuay Promenade, Docklands, VIC.