Fish Frenzy

Fish Frenzy on the Elizabeth Street Pier. Photo by David Lansing.

I was supposed to have dinner last night at Smolt, a swanky Hobart restaurant in equally swanky Salamanca Square. It’s small plates with a Spanish-Italian influence—housemade pickles, jamon Serrano, potato gnocchi with wild mushrooms—that sort of thing. Which all sounds swell. My only problems with it is that, one, I didn’t feel like dressing up and going someplace hip, and, two, it’s a joint venture with one of Tasmania’s biggest salmon farmers, Tassal. So they’re also pushing Tassal salmon ceviche and Tassal salmon and prosciutto pizza and roasted Tassal salmon with braised fennel.

Have I told you how much I hate farmed salmon? Well, I do.

So instead of going to Smolt, I walked along the wharf until I came to a fish ‘n’ chips joint called Fish Frenzy. I liked this place a lot. It was huge and not at all like the normal fish ‘n’ chip place you’d find in the U.K. that is all cramped and dirty and smells like old grease. Fish Frenzy is clean and more like an upscale cafeteria. What you do is stand in line with a dozen or more other diners and order up your fish—flake, trevally, blue-eye, or flathead, tell them how you want it battered (beer batter, tempura batter, or bread crumbs), and then go find a table. Five or ten minutes later, a young kid will run the food over to you.

I had the Fish Frenzy itself which was two pieces each of beer battered fish, scallops, calamari, and a big cone of perfectly fried chips. Lovely. Much better than farmed salmon, even if there were no housemade pickles to go with it.

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