Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fresh Fish Market, Tauranga (NZ) by Big Fil

There are two food related things that I would say are almost universally better in New Zealand than in Australia - meat pies from the local bakery and takeaway fish and chips. Actually the most accurate way to put it is that New Zealand pies and fish and chips are acceptable to very good, whereas both are pretty bad in Australia (and don't talk to me about UK fish and chips). I suspect it's a mix of more care in the cooking and access to fresh ingredients just off the boat.

Consequently one of the things we had to have was 'fush and chups'. The Fresh Fish Market was just around the corner from our motel in Tauranga and the number of locals eating there was promising. The view out over the water wasn't half bad either and given we had been driving since before 8am and it was almost 7pm with just one food break (at the Colenso Country Shop and Café) it didn't take long for us to make up our minds.

Ordering was a bit chaotic because it wasn't immediately clear that you had to go up to the cash register to order. Except for Snapper most of the types of fish available were unfamiliar and so we ordered the generic 'fish' off the menu on the wall. The menu also included scallops, mussels and oysters (good), but plain chips only with no kumara chips (bad). Still busy just before closing, it took about 20 minutes for our food to be ready. When it did eventually arrive it was quite a feast. The four pieces of fish we ordered were much bigger than I was expecting and, in an unfamiliar event, we struggled to get through it all.

The two biggest sins for this type of seafood are over-battering and over-cooking. Fresh Fish Market batter was thin, light and crispy, the fish firm and moist. In fact the fish was cooked much better than in many restaurants where you'd expect to pay three times the price.

The mussels, oysters and scallops were only a touch below the fish in quality.

Again the same light batter, but while the oysters were outstanding the mussels and scallops were merely good.

Still, they would have been the best item on the menu at most places I have been to for fish and chips, not the worst.

Very good food and it's obvious why it's so popular. Given most New Zealanders seem to have dinner fairly early I can imagine it being almost impossible to get a seat around 6pm. And in keeping with general attitudes we encountered, even the seagulls seemed friendlier than at home. A great spot to eat excellent fish and chips on rough wooden benches and seats looking at the water.

1 Dive Crescent
Tauranga New Zealand
Tel: 07 578 1789


Bureaucrat said...

sacrilege to batter and deep fry the oysters!

Anonymous said...

You'd think so. But because the batter was thin and they weren't overcooked the oysters came out almost as if it had been steamed.


lynette palmer said...

Love your comments about our shop, could you change the phone number?? Customers are ringing our Bayfair, Mt Maunganui shop and expecting to pick their orders up in dive Cres Tauranga
The correct Phone no is 07 5781789
Hope to see you back again

Bureaucrat said...

Hi Lynette - thanks for getting in touch - we've updated the phone number.

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