Fish Cafe Balgowlah wins Best Seafood Restaurant title at NSW Seafood Excellence Awards
Article by Beverley Hudec
August 29, 2013
A CAFE that started as a humble fish and chip shop has been named the best seafood restaurant in the state.
Fish Cafe Balgowlah Seafood was named the Best Seafood Restaurant at the 2013 Sydney Fish Market Seafood Excellence Awards on Wednesday.
The cafe won the people’s choice from a shortlist of seven, including Garfish @ Manly, Nick’s Seafood Restaurant at Darling Harbour, Ocean Restaurant at Blue Bay and Fish & Co. The Sustainable Seafood Cafe in Annandale.
The biennial awards, held at the Sydney Seafood School, recognises New South Wales’ best suppliers, seafood retailers and restaurants in eight separate award categories.
Other top winners included fisherman Richie Bagnato, awarded for Excellence in Environmental Practice; and Di Costi Seafoods, which won the Seafood Business Award and Best Seafood Retailler.
Fish Cafe Balgowlah, west of Manly, is a first-time nominee, co-owner Con Ioannides said.
“It is the first time we have been nominated and we were absolutely blown away,” Mr Ioannides said.
“We never expected to win, we were up against some strong contenders. We began as a fish and chip shop, it shows how far we have come in a short time.”
The restaurant at the Stockland Balgowlah Plaza opened in July 2010. With a fish shop in the downstairs shopping centre, fresh produce is always on the menu, Mr Ioannides said.
“All our fish is fresh, nothing is frozen. Everything is market driven. We go to the markets each day and our chefs come and see what we have brought back on the truck,” he said.
“Customers can come to the fish shop, choose their own fish and have it cooked for them that night.”
The menu has introduced a new twist to a perennial favourite, fish and chips.
Chefs Julian Halfacree and Gavin Zhou have swapped salad for mushy peas made with petit pois, leek, cream, butter and garlic.
“We had so many requests for mushy peas that we decided to put them on the menu with our flathead and chips,” he said.
“Aussies love their fish and chips.”