Tuesday, September 15, 2009

THE GREAT FISH & CHIP QUEST - OCEAN BAY Cafe & Restaurant Narrabeen

Why is it that beachside location, captive audience, and GOOD QUALITY fish and chips DON'T necessarily mix? To me it makes perfect sense that if you are by the ocean, then fresh fish would be immediately available and that living in that location, it would be the best opportunity to support local business (ie fishermen/fishmongers). Why then does is seem to be that it is not always easy to find a nicely battered piece of fresh, flakey fish, (enough already with that gluey, gluggy batter and soggy, oversalted chips!). I love being by the water, and I have to say am a bit of a sucker for fish and chips, so more times than I care to accept, I've been swindled into buying some very unremarkable fish and chips. Now, I think I've found the best chip in Sydney at the Five Dock Club, and I was pretty happy with the battered fish at Wamberal on the Central Coast, but I was a bit peeved by the average fish and chips on offer yesterday at a cafe just near Narrabeen Caravan Park, and right on the Channel. I have to say that the fish and chips in question were kids meal, but as I've said before, just because they are kids, doesn't mean you should try to get away with dishing out mediocre food. My kids, especially the lad, really like fresh fish and know a bland fish fillet when they see it! It cost $12.00 which is a bit steep for a kids meal in the big scheme of things but as we had had a very active day in the water, building sandcastles, collecting shells and swimming we were all in need of sustenance and we HAD to walk right by the outdoor seating of Ocean Bay Cafe and Restaurant to get to our car. I had no chance of getting past it with two hungry kids in tow. I've passed this place before, and it has a really casual air about it and really just beckons you to sit down and enjoy the salt air. The outdoor seating is always full and it overlooks the carpark and the sands of the lake under the shade of some huge pines. Being just across the road from the very popular Caravan Park, I'm sure it has a lot of traffic in the holiday season. Its a great spot to have a coffee, and they also do functions. Last time we were here they had a singer belting out tunes practising for the evenings gig, and with the glass doors open onto the carpark we got to enjoy the music as we wandered past, all sandy from our day swimming. We happily sat outside and ordered - it had to be fish and chips for the kids and milkshakes in those big old fashioned aluminium cups again. I wasn't as hungry as the kids so had an entree size Salt and Petter Squid which was cooked nicely, but the outside wasn't as crisp as I would have liked, it did have a lovely flavour though. It came with a side salad of rocket, parmesan and red onion which had a really nice sweet dressing that set off the bitterness of the rocket beautifully. It was just enough to fill me and was $17.50 so not a bad choice. The chips the kids had were crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, but I think the fish fillets, although looking golden and lovely, turned out to be the thick gluey batter type which I'm sure they buy in bulk rather than battering their own which was a pity. The location was great and it ended the day perfectly by prolonging the beach experience for us all. It had been a beautiful spring day so we were happy to stay out in it. They also serve Pizza and we saw a few going past on trays which looked sensational, so I think it might just be a case of us either stopping for a milkshake or pizza next time and not for the fish and chips. You live and you learn though don't you? The decor is mostly white with accents of blue and along the walls inside there is beach themed canvases which were mostly photographs taken of the Rock Pool and beach scenes. The large windows also made it airy and light, so it had a typical beachside feeling about it. After eating, and having used up all of our energy, we piled into the car, dusted the sand off our feet and then promptly took off in the wrong direction, but rather than this being a problem, I was really happy to find that just on the other side of the bridge there was a fantastic looking, modern cafe called "Lifesavers" which was directly across the road from the Narrabeen Surf Club so I'll be sure to walk up the road a little further and put them through their fish and chip paces next time I'm down this way!! How I love turning a negative into a positive - Happi Eating! Ocean Bay Cafe and Restaurant can be found at 1 Narrabeen Park Parade, Narrabeen 2101. 9970 5599


  1. Gorgeous photos as ususal, pity the fish and chips didn't live up to your standards - how far is Fivedock from the sea?

  2. Sucha shame about the batter-it's so easy to do well yet so many don't! :( Although the stunning view does help to make up for it! :)

  3. You're right NQN..views count for a lot, but it still disappoints me that places with captive audiences of transients such as holiday makers or tourist get away with it. Its a consipiracy theory!! LOL