Storage space was the driving force behind Josh Niland’s decision to open a fish shop a couple of doors up from his sustainable seafood restaurant on Oxford Street in Paddington. “We needed a bigger cool room. If I bought a box of something it would fill my fridge,” he says.
The Fish Butchery is a big clean room with the kind of display case you’d expect to see in a boulangerie, which makes sense given the inspiration for the layout was from Melbourne’s famous croissanterie, Lune. “We liked the huge warehouse that had a little orb of action, so we put one big table in the middle with all this fish all over it and people are surprised that they can see it and interact with it and it’s not waterlogged, there’s no smell.”
While the shop is fun, it’s actually more a side effect of Saint Peter’s growth. “What we basically have now is a huge production kitchen and a few extra guys, and the byproduct of that is retail. We’re also minimising waste because what you can’t put in a pie or a sausage roll or a sandwich or a salad, we can send it to the restaurant, so instead of having two livers we now have more like 12. It means the fish is better at Saint Peter now.”
Education is also major factor at the Fish Butchery with people coming in and having a chat about what’s on offer and what they like to cook. “People are being adventurous with what they’re buying. The locals are coming quite frequently, so if they have a good experience with the mirror dory then the next time we can say any other fish."
And if people are craving comfort, they're also dishing up the famous Saint Peter fish and chips as part of the daily takeaway specials and ready-to-eat items you can squirrel back to your own kitchen.