Everything may be better down where it’s wetter, but harbour views and fish and chips ain’t so bad either
Fish and chips by the sea shore at Balmoral is as close as it gets to dining inside a postcard specifically designed to irk friends in the grips of a Northern Hemisphere winter.
Silver shimmering yachts glide about in the sheltered blue harbour while cute kids splash about, their well-heeled grandparents looking on with white wine in hand.
A fixture of this idyllic scene since 1989, Bottom of the Harbour is our go-to for seaside seafood. This corner fish and chipper gets people lining up down the street each day for an early bird special so as to catch the last of the summer rays with their meal.
At its core the menu is simple: battered New Zealand hake with chips, some fancier, market fresh fish with chips (on our visit it is snapper, ocean perch and barramundi), or creatures of the sea and land on a bun. You’ll pay almost half as much for the imported hake but if you prefer your fish local then order off the market specials board.
On our visit we stick with the classics and order the standard fish and chips. The white fish would fall apart were it not for the crisp batter case that allows you to eat it like a fish cookie, and though tartare sauce is an extra charge, it’s worth it. Fair warning - they don’t salt their chips here. If you're taking your meal out onto the sand remember to pocket some sachets and perhaps an extra lemon before toddling off.
We also think it’s worth upgrading from the humble calamari ring to the golden, crumbed tendrils of salt and pepper squid with garlic aioli. Not in the market for fried potato? Redirect your attentions to the fish burger with spinach, tomato and tartare instead. There are ready-made salads for sides but all the good bits sit on top and the rest is just lettuce. Order the seaweed salad instead – seaweed, dressing, sesame seeds. Simple.
Early risers can get their hands on breakfast snacks from the little café around the side but the fryers don’t turn on until 9am. You’ll have to wait until the school bell rings to get your hands on the fruits of the sea.
After more than 20 years Bottom of the Harbour knows their way around a battered fillet better than most. If dinner is to be deep-fried this is the place to get it. It’s also the best excuse for an early dinner without looking like a nana.
|Venue name:||Bottom of the Harbour|
21 The Esplanade Balmoral
|Opening hours:||Cafe - Daily 6.30am-3.30pm; Take Away - Daily 9am-8pm|