As soon as I had heard that Chef Paul Zammit had opened a new restaurant I couldn’t wait to get there. When I found out that it was opening so close to home I literally couldn’t believe my luck! I had the chance to try Chef Paul’s food at two of his previous venues – Llama Bar and then when he headed up the kitchen at Mosmans Resaturant. And now he and his wife Jaycinta have moved to Beaufort Street and opened up a new venue. Imagine a local fish and chip shop with a five star flourish. Ladies and gentleman welcome to A Fish Called Inglewood.
Situated just off the corner of Ninth Avenue and Beaufort Street, it is a very welcoming space with a hugely artistic colourful fish painted along the main wall. There’s a quirky selection of light fixtures and also a collection of additional artwork which showcases the work of kiddly winks who have coloured in their own versions of the resident fish. It’s BYO so bring along your favourite bottle of wine or a few beers, or head over to Devine Cellars which is right across the road. Now onto the menu. Let me tell you what impresses me about a menu. It doesn’t need to be miles long, keep things short and sharp and change it up whenever possible. I quite like a simple printed paper menu because it means it changes daily and is driven by the best available produce of the day. It keeps things fresh and interesting and that is a huge win for diners and probably makes things exciting in the kitchen too! And look I don’t profess to be any sort of menu expert, I say this merely as an enthusiastic diner about town.
So while there is variance from day to day, you can always order your standard fish and chips but calling them ‘standard’ doesn’t do them justice. There is a secret house made batter that those with coeliac will be happy to know is gluten free and I can assure you it is top notch. As are the chips. Served chunky and well-seasoned, they are the kind that even when you know you have no room left you just keep reaching for another and another and before you know it they are all gone. What? Where did all my chips go?
I headed along for dinner with some lovely folk, including my GG over the weekend and it was a delicious night out. And I’ll admit that given I had really delayed my debut visit I was so excited about finally being there! Now we did have a gluten intolerant among us but the lovely Jaycinta (the birthday girl) helpfully talked us through the menu as to what he could and couldn’t have.
We were all fairly giddy as we perused the delicious menu and perhaps got a touch carried away when we placed our order. But we were confident going in and we decided for starters we would share:
- Salmon stuffed zucchini flowers, ginger mayo, chorizo ($15)
- Lemon Pepper Calamari, Greek Salsa, Sumac yoghurt ($15)
- Crab and Corn Croquettes, Harissa ($18)
For mains we also decided to tackle it with a sharing approach and I had shown GG a photo of the seafood plates on Facebook (the joys of social media) and so he was keen to get one of those, and we ordered:
- Battered Fish ‘n’ Chips, Lemon, Tartare Sauce ($15)
- Snapper, Green Papaya, Mint, Peanuts, Lime and Shallots ($25)
- Seafood Plate for one, grilled prawns, scallops, fresh fish, squid, fresh oysters, chips ($35pp)
- Selection of Pickles ($4.50)
The whole place has an amazing smell that definitely kicked our taste buds into overdrive! There were a range of indulgent aromas drifting from the kitchen. I couldn’t wait for our meals to be delivered! The starters arrived in a flurry and they all looked amazing. As soon as you see them, any preconceptions that this is your run of the mill fish and chip shop are booted right out the door. This is a seafood restaurant serving up high class, top quality food. It just has a more casual vibe to it.
I had a nibble of the zucchini flowers and really enjoyed their light batter and creamy cheese and salmon centre. The pan fried crumbled chorizo was also a welcome addition and a great match with the elegant flowers. I have stuffed zucchini flowers once before and it is fiddly business because they are really quite delicate. These two looked perfect! I clearly need more practice and perhaps to remember to a sprinkle of chorizo. And then there were the squid rings. These came sans the lemon pepper, which arrived in a dish on the side, so we didn’t hurt our gluten intolerant dining companion. The rest of us took a ring or two and liberally sprinkled on the zesty lemon pepper powder. Yum! Cooked to a tender perfection and so crisp. What I really loved was the Greek salsa and the spiced sumac yoghurt underneath. What a wonderful pairing! Was really refreshing and definitely a step up from your standard squid rings. Finally, the croquettes. Oh how I love thee… let me count the ways – red hot, plenty of shredded crab, sweet corn kernels and a deliciously crisp exterior. They were perfect croquettes and I really liked the drizzle of punchy harissa swirled on the plate. I think I could have happily filled up on a dozen more croquettes, such was their yumness.
But a cheeky dozen croquettes would have to wait for another day because the next influx of dishes was on the way. I think as soon as we saw the first Seafood Platter arrive we realised that we may have only needed to order one of them. Talk about generous! Now I rarely order a seafood main but I have seen a few menus and glanced over the cost of a seafood plate in my time and I recall them always being one of the more expensive items. So when I saw $35 per person for AFCI’s Seafood Plates I have to admit I was curious to see whether the photo we had seen online was a serve for one or for two. They are giant! And if you are a seafood fan then what is not to love! It has all the crowd pleasers – fresh oysters, scallops (in the shell – which always look a little bit fancy), massive split prawns, a large piece of squid, and pan fried fish AND chips. I mean come on!! Just look at it! What a vision! Like the ocean on a plate. We collectively worked our way through the two plates and it received rave reviews.
I had chosen the snapper dish because I really liked the sound of the salad and I believe I picked very well, if I do say so myself. It was such a refreshing and light salad and had such wonderful fresh flavours, with plenty of herbs and added crunch from the peanuts. Plus the snapper was cooked perfectly.
And then there was the fish and chips. Much like I touched on earlier, it was superb. You would not be left wanting for chips with this ample stack and it came with two very decent pieces of crispy battered fish. As I tasted that batter I did wonder if Chef Paul would ever extend his skills to pineapple fritters, because the thought of some of this batter wrapped around a pineapple ring, me oh my! I am sure it would be magic.
And finally the pickles. Again we had slightly overextended when we ordered two serves of pickles, but it meant there was something for everyone and we could each try some of the in house pickled cucumbers, paprika, red onion and green chillies, which packed quite the spicy kick! Again, they use a gluten free vinegar for all their pickling, so roll up, roll up if you are a pickle loving gluten intolerant because you are sorted!
Now I have to say I was more than a little impressed with the dent we managed to put in all the plates that arrived. It was a fairly epic effort but it was seriously the case that the food was all so beautiful that we didn’t want to leave anything behind!
So everyone was sitting back and feeling more than a little comfortable when Jaycinta brought back the menus to see if she could tempt any of us with some dessert. Turns out I was the only one with a skerrick of room left and so I locked in the Peppermint Crisp ($7), one of their ever changing home made ‘ice-cream on sticks’ offerings. How could I resist such a happy ice-cream? And I am mad for a peppermint dessert, I actually think that on the scoop front, peppermint choc chip would be my number one, go to flavour, so serve it up on a stick and it is sure to be a winner.
Wow, what a meal. Why had I taken so long to visit? This place gives you a chance to enjoy the stellar seafood stylings from one of Perth’s top chefs in the comfort of a family style restaurant in the burbs. It is one of those hidden gems that you hear locals talking about. But the word is out. A Fish Called Inglewood is amazing! And rumour has it the talented Zammit team is looking for suburbs to set up their second venue…so there could well be A Fished Called “Insert your Suburb Here” on the way soon!
Please note: I was the guest of Chef Paul for this meal, which was incredibly generous of him. My thanks to him and Jaycinta and the whole AFCI Team. I cannot wait to head back again!