One experience that K and I treated ourselves to in the leadup to the wedding was dance lessons. I was nervous about our ‘first dance’ as a married couple in front of all our family and friends – and for good reason as well! Everyone was sending me links to Youtube videos of impressive choreographed first dances, and I think there was an expectation that we would do something incredible.
We did a course of three dance lessons with Terry of Sydney Dancing School in Surry Hills in the three weeks before the wedding, and my confidence really grew in leaps and bounds. While we weren’t going to be breaking out a choreographed routine to a mashup of Teach Me How To Dougie, Thriller and Harlem Shake, we weren’t going to embarrass ourselves on the dance floor either.
After each session, we treated ourselves to dinner out in Surry Hills afterwards, spending the time dissecting every move we had made in the lesson, and what we needed to work on in the week ahead. Our first visit was to Crown Street Fish Shop for an upmarket take on the classic fish and chip shop experience.
Not to put too fine a point on it, the whole store is decked out in a nautical theme. From mini fishing rods indicating your order number (order and pay at the counter) to thick ropes hanging from the ceiling, Crown Street Fish Shop proclaims its seafood credentials loudly and blatantly.
We start off with Popcorn Shrimp with Spicy Mayo as a shared entree. Lightly battered and crispy-shelled prawn bites were made just that bit more-ish with the addition of the excellent tabasco-enhanced mayo. The $14 charge was a bit overpriced for what you got though, especially when compared to other items on the menu.
After a lengthy argument weeks earlier about potato CAKES and whether they should actually be called potato SCALLOPS (it’s a Victoria/New South Wales divide!), we ordered a Potato Scallop/Cake to share to make the peace. The crunchy batter went well with the soft potato inside, and it was generously flavoured with salt. (I maintain that they should be called potato cakes!)
In the mood for something healthier with less deep-frying, I opted for the Haloumi Burger which came out as a ginormously stacked burger. Realising that I couldn’t eat the whole thing without putting myself into a severe food coma, I deconstructed my burger and left the bun behind, eating the ingredients only. I’m actually quite glad that I did that, as the burger bun had been absolutely smothered with multiple tablespoons worth of tangy tomato chutney that made it quite overwhelming. Without the chutney, the individual ingredients of chargrilled haloumi, eggplant, capsicum and zucchini were smoky and delicious, with the eggplant as a real standout.
K’s choice of the Grilled Barramundi Burger was particulary inspired. Though it wasn’t fish and chips in the traditional sense, the fillet of grilled barramundi that he got in the burger was very substantial, grilled perfectly without being over-fried and over-cooked, and came with some vegetables instead of unhealthy chips. It’s worth ordering if you’re after a slightly healthier and more wallet-friendly option!
We finished our meal with iconic deep-fried Battered Mars Bar. It’s the first time that either of us had ever tried this dessert, and believe me when I say that we weren’t disappointed! The frying process had helped to melt the chocolate and caramel of the Mars Bar slightly, leaving a sweet and gooey dessert that we dug into with delight.
While Crown Street Fish Shop offers a varied menu to suit most tastes and executes most of it quite well, the truth of the matter is that there’s nothing other than fancy decor to distinguish it from a more humble neighborhood fish and chip shop. You’re probably better off getting your potato CAKE fix from your local fish and chippery for 70c, rather than coming to Crown Street Fish Shop for their overpriced $1.50 version.
There’s so many other places to visit in Surry Hills, that I can say with some certainty that we probably won’t be back any time soon…not even for that deep-fried Mars Bar.