Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fish Food Fantasies....

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It's another fantastically sunny Saturday in Auckland.  For my wife Kelly and I this is the first full summer we've been in NZ for eight years.  We'd been back every couple or so for a break away from the wintry UK but this was our first long stretch.  And what a stretch.  To think we were enjoying days like this four months ago and we still have a few more to come is awesome.

Being such a nice day and having a pretty clear agenda we decided to try somewhere new for lunch.  Of course being the wily foody I am I had to think of a way to fit in some gourmet food shopping as well!  My wife is not the biggest fan of food shopping.  It's not to say she isn't interested in food, but to go with someone who gets wildly excited at the sight of a well cured piece of pork leg and spends half his life savings on cold pressed olive oil I can understand her reluctance.  So I have come up with these little detours with promises of a nice lunch or other temptations.  I'm sure she does the same to me, in fact positive.  Otherwise how come every time we head to the mall we wind up shoe shopping?  A girl can never have enough shoes right?  A foody can never have enough luxury olive oil

Colleague Kelly had mentioned during the week that the Auckland fish market, located a stones throw from the viaduct, had some of the best tasting fish and chips in the vicinity.  I also happened to have an idea for a lovely risotto dish that would be best served with a marine morsel on top so off to the market we went!

 Auckland Fish Market is without doubt one of the best places to go if you are a fan of the sea's bounty.  For range of fish it cannot be beaten.  Sometimes the prices are a bit steep but look out for fantastic specials where you will be guaranteed supremely fresh fish for a reasonable price.  Not only do they have a great selection of fresh fish but the market next door has an awe inspiring collection of various forms of smoked fish as well as a huge selection of ready to eat seafood salads, and prepped and ready-to-cook morsels like salmon kebabs, stuffed squids and marinated mussels.  You'll also find a great selection of gourmet meats, cheeses and other delicatessen items that will have you hungry and wanting for a larger shopping basket very quickly!

Kelly found a fridge full of frozen pasta morsels made by Pasta Mia.  We choose the Kumara and Blue Cheese Pansooti and look forward to having them with a simple sauce very soon.

I picked up some lemons and some arborio rice and then headed to the fish counter where they had Monkfish on sale for $10.99 a kilo!  I was originally thinking of getting some snapper but sometimes you go with what's cheap and then alter your dish accordingly!  But anyway, that's for another post which I will put up shortly, Bacon wrapped Monkfish on Pea Risotto with a Burnt Lemon Butter.

After all this shopping we were more than ready for some lunch and following Kelly's recommendation we headed to the Oceanz seafood shop next to the market, which sells fresh fish as well as having a conveniently placed deep fat fryer for the provision of super fresh fish and chips!

 Fish of the day was Deep sea Cod, which I like the taste of so we got a combo, including a crab stick a potato fritter, chips and a drink for $9.  There was a 15 minute wait for the food, which I;ve heard is quite standard.  Nothing wrong with waiting for good food.  Sometimes the reason you wait is because it's that good.  In many of my travels I would wind up at must visit Boulangeries or essential Tratorrias where you would have to line up out the door and round the corner to hopefully get a chance to sample their famous offerings.

While taking a seat I notice that a write up of Fish and Chips around Auckland City finds that Oceanz comes out right near the top for flavor.  A promising thing to see while waiting for your lunch!  Now, this isn't the most special of locations.  Please understand that this is a stone's throw from the viaduct.  Pretty people and fancy yachts don't like stones.  They especially don't like thrown stones.  So you won't find them around here.  No in fact the view while you wait is much more down to earth......in the form of a car park.  But not to worry, we're here for the good food.  So after watching a few cars reverse carefully our remote control buzzer alerter starts vibrating signifying that our patience has been rewarded.  Our bounty arrives:

The batter looks golden, and very well cooked.  Portion wise it looks a little small but then I say that about most food and in the end it worked out as a good sized lunch.  The chips are perfectly cooked.  Crunchy but soft on the inside.  Just the way I like them.  The fish is beautifully cooked as well.  The cod is meaty and with a strongish flavor it works well with the light crisp batter.  The most important thing for me with fish and chips is although it's spent the last few moments of life surrounded in a cholesterol wonderland, I don't want to be reminded of it.  There is nothing worse than a soggy, fat soaked piece of battered fish that sticks to the paper.

So the fish and chips gets the thumbs up from me.  I'm not sure I would head all the way into town just to try it, but as a nice stop off while shopping at the fish market it can't be beaten.  The Oceanz offering is definitely up there with top quality fish and chips and could easily be served as it is a stone's throw away: On a plate, with a knife and fork and a chardonnay.  Although they would have to do something about that carpark.


  1. "spends half his life savings on cold pressed."
    I'm wondering if this speaks more to the oil or the state of your life savings?

  2. Life spendings might be a better way to put it.

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