Tuesday 12 April 2011

The Alphabet Dinners: F is for Fish Tank

In The Alphabet Dinners series, I review the cheap restaurants of Melbourne... in alphabetical order.

It's been a few weeks since I produced a review of an eatery selected from the Age Cheap Eats guide, as reviewing shows in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been taking up all my time.

But here I was, back at the old stand again, and for "F" I chose Fish Tank, an upmarket fish and chippery in Melbourne's well-heeled bayside suburb Brighton.

It was a good night to be eating comfort food, for we were just getting our first foretaste of winter weather this year.

Though there's something darkly attractive about Melbourne in wintry weather - the sheen of fallen rain, the chill air that snaps you awake as you walk from Middle Brighton Station along Church Street toward the fish.

Fish Tank is an interesting joint - the front is a fish shop and there's a modest amount of seating both out front and in the rear of the shop, squeezed in next to the big white wall concealing the kitchen.

The menu was interesting - basically following the same lineaments of an old-fashioned fish and chip shop, but classier. I went for the Health Attack pack, which included the grilled fish of the day (John Dory), chips and salad.

To be honest, I don't think eateries should include the word "health" in menu items - it makes the customer feel too self-conscious and goody-goody. It's hard enough to order anything healthy in a fish and chip shop after all, without pointing it out. They should probably call it the "Biodynamic Sex Appeal" pack or something similar.

Anyway, I kinda spoiled the health aspect by adding a homemade dim sim and a potato cake to the order. Here's the resulting plate of fine food:

Hard to make this sort of food look sexy, isn't it? Anyway, it was very tasty.

And to accompany it, a Corona beer - you won't find that at your average fish 'n' chippery.

The place had no desserts as far as I could see, so I walked a few doors down to the Dendy Deli. This cafe-restaurant is a strangely retro place beneath a retro cinema; decorated with numerous booths, mirrored walks and neon signage.

For dessert I ordered the homemade apple crumble and a decaf coffee. The crumble was good, but as you might notice, huge; the waiter insisted it was "half a kilo". Impossible to finish!

The Bill: $22.60
The Restaurant: Fish Tank, 20 Church St, Brighton; Ph: 03 9592 0697.

The Bill: $12.90
The Restaurant: Dendy Deli, 34 Church St, Brighton; Ph: 03 9592 6233.

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