Hong Kong restaurateurs are ever so good at seeing a gap in the market and attempting to fill it. Until recently, there was nowhere that specialised solely in fish and chips. Brand new Seasalt, opened by two young Australian guys, has just landed in Mid-Levels with the aim of filling this very much wide open gap.
The first thing to note is that this is an “Australian fish and chips shop”. Remember this and cast aside all expectations of true British fish and chips; once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to enjoy your experience at Seasalt. (Of course we all know that the concept of fish and chips has always and will always belong to the Brits, but let’s just accept the flattery that the Aussies think it’s theirs and enjoy it for what it is!)
Much like the rest of the real estate on Mosque Street, Seasalt is a tiny spot that probably seats a maximum of 15 diners at a time. Its lovely use of white tiles, blue, yellow and white seats and a cool painted surfboard on one of the walls add to its relaxed charm that is instantly inviting.
The menu is different from the standard fish and chips shops I am used to from back home, where all you get is fish, chips and mushy peas. Although mushy peas don’t feature at all on this menu (take a deep breath and remember what I said in paragraph two), the menu offers much more choice, whilst still remaining simple and easy to navigate.
Choose your fish (cod, red snapper or barramundi), say whether you’d like it beer-battered or grilled, and then choose chips, brown rice or salad. Again, although this moves away from traditional fish and chips as we know them, I like the fact that there are healthier options that won’t leave you with that oily guilt in the pit of your stomach.
When it came down to it, however, we had no choice but to go for the unhealthy option – the beer-battered barramundi with chips. The batter is excellent, neither too thick nor too thin and had a decent crunch that contrasted nicely with the wonderfully flaky fish. Alone, the fish lacked a little flavour, but dipped into the accompanying wasabi mayo, it was delicious. The chips were decent though not outstanding and also worked well with the wasabi mayo or soy ginger sauce.
As an alternative to fish, the menu also offers calamari or prawns, each either tempura or grilled, served with the same choices of chips, brown rice or salad; we tried the grilled calamari with salad. Whilst the calamari pieces were wonderfully tender and fresh, they were just a touch too salty for my liking. This worked with the salad, as the leaves balanced the saltiness, but perhaps wouldn’t have worked so well with rice or chips.
Sides of grilled haloumi and potato cakes (basically deep-fried, battered discs of potato!) were a little gluttonous alongside the generous main courses, but tasty nonetheless.
In line with the original concept of a fish and chips shop, you can order Seasalt to takeaway. Granted it doesn’t come wrapped in newspaper (does anyone really do that anymore?), but it does come in cute, colourful packaging. Prices range from $120 to $195 depending on the order; it’s certainly not the cheapest takeaway in town, but neither is it enough to scare you from coming back. For us it’s the perfect Sunday night dinner, whether we’re eating in or out, and until someone does a true British fish and chips shop, I’ll happily make do with the Aussie version for now!
23 Mosque Street
Tel: +852 2790 7211