By WENDY HARGREAVES
Freshly-shucked oysters on ice, a huge pile of king prawns and a whole snapper roasting on the barbie… welcome to my ultimate Good Friday. Religion might not be a big part of my life, but I’m happy to follow the Christian tradition of eating fish on Good Friday. Any excuse to splurge on Victoria’s excellent local seafood.
And Melbourne’s fishmongers are ready for the Easter rush. Melbourne Seafood Centre chief Barbara Konstas says local fishing fleets have enjoyed mild weather in the past week, so there’s plenty of locally-caught fish at our food markets.
“At the moment we have excellent King George whiting, garfish, red mullet and snapper,” Konstas says. “We’re so lucky in Melbourne to have such amazing access to seafood.”
Here are five of my favourite places to buy it.
- 437-441 Church St, Richmond, 9428 5121
- One of only a few fishmongers open on Good Friday, Richmond Oysters doubles as a seafood restaurant serving some of Melbourne’s most extravagant platters. Don’t leave without trying a couple of oyster shooters. This Melbourne institution is also open on Easter Thursday and Saturday from 7am until late, but it’ll be closed on Easter Sunday and Monday.
- 11-21 Wingfield St, Footscray, 9689 3400
- A fresh food beacon in Melbourne’s western suburbs, Conway Fish has sold seafood in the same location for more than four decades. And if you can’t wait for a hit of fresh fish, pick up a perfectly fried fillet of fish for as little as $6 at Conway’s fish and chip shop. They’re open from 6am-6pm on Easter Thursday, with plenty of local flake, rockling, flathead, gem fish, snapper and salmon.
- Shop 27, Meat Hall, Queen Victoria Market, 513 Elizabeth St, city, 9329 7072
- In a sea of fabulous seafood stalls at the Queen Vic Market, Happy Tuna always stands out for its fresh fish and excellent advice on how to cook it. No question is too silly, and they’ll chop up the fish just how you want it. Gummy shark is excellent this week, along with flathead, blue grenadier and calamari. Open from 5.30am until 2pm on Thursday, with a day off on Good Friday before reopening first thing Saturday.
- Shop 510, Prahran Market, 163-181 Commercial Rd, South Yarra, 9826 8381
- Prahran’s spectacular food market has some top seafood on sale, but Clarinbolds has always my choice. Don’t be scared to ask for advice on preparation and cooking. Claringbolds has been serving seafood since 1909. The most popular produce, including prawns, salmon and crab, are stocked alongside coral trout, Moreton Bay bugs and Coffin Bay oysters. Sushi is also available.
- 25-29 Roberts St, Collingwood, 9486 0399
- Many of Melbourne’s top restaurants rely on Ocean Made for fresh seafood deliveries, so you know the quality will be high at their retail store. Pop in on Easter Thursday to stock up for the weekend. It’s open from 9am to 3.30pm (but not Good Friday), and you can count on quality.