As anyone who has holidayed on Phillip Island in Victoria knows, no trip away is complete without a stop at the San Remo Fisherman’s Co-op – a brilliant fish ‘n chippery.
The casual family eatery overlooks the San Remo pier and beach, which is normally awash with fishing boats, and tourists watching the staff from the Co-op feed the local pelican contingent!
The San Remo Fisherman’s Co-op was first formed in 1948 and initially had about 50-60 Couta boats, which fished for Couta and crayfish in Western Port Bay.
As time has gone on, bigger boats have joined the fleet, the restaurant opened and advances in the fishing industry have changed the way they operate.
Currently, the co-op has six shark boats, one trawler and four crayfish boats.
Christian Lloyd, one of the managers at the San Remo Fisherman’s Co-op told Trading Plates that while flake is the most popular item on their menu, the salt and pepper calamari also gets ordered quite a lot!
“For our salt and pepper calamari, we hand cut squid tubes and season them with salt, cracked pepper and bread crumbs. Then we lightly fry the pieces for approximately 20 seconds.
“It is served with chips, tossed salad and tartar sauce, which is made on site.
“Grilled seafood and our Fishermans Basket are also popular, particularly with overseas visitors.”
Lloyd also has some great tips for seafood lovers wanting to take some of their delicious produce home to cook up themselves.
“If you can get fresh seafood it is better, although frozen fish that is thawed and drained well can also be excellent if fresh is not available.
“How you are cooking it and what are you cooking it with also makes a difference.
“Firm fish such as rockling is excellent for curries, but is also nice pan fried fish with butter and lemon.
“Salmon is great on BBQs. Crispy skin is always yummy when seasoned well. Just be sure you serve it skin side up and don’t put salad on top, as the moisture will ruin your crispy skin!
“Whole fish like snapper are great to bake in the oven. Wrap it in foil or a greased paper bag to maintain moisture and add tomato, lemon or onion to enhance its flavours. Ginger and soy is also a nice combination.
“And flathead in a light batter is always a family favourite for fish and chips at home.”
His main tip for cooking fish however was that it is important not to overcook it.
“If you leave it slightly underdone and then remove it from the pan to the oven and finish it off there, it is great.
“If you’re cooking it in the pan for the whole time, continually baste your fish with the pan juices.”
The types of seafood that Lloyd thinks are the most underrated are sole (pan fried with butter and garlic), which he says is very similar to flounder, duckfish (boarfish) which is very firm and great in a curry or pan fried and finally saw shark, which is sweet and juicy and great fried or battered.
So next time you head on an island adventure, stop before you cross over the bridge and grab some fish n’ chips- you won’t regret it!