The Young Guns Behind Fishbowl Are Also Behind Bondi’s Hottest New Restaurant

It's fish and chips, but not like what we're used to

Shopfront FISH SHOP Bondi
Photo By Kitti Gould

Fishbowl founders, Nathan Dalah, Nic Pestalozzi, and Casper Ettelson, first opened Fishbowl in Bondi, five years ago. Today, they have returned to the famed stretch of sand to open an entirely new concept, FISH SHOP. 

The idea was born from the year of takeaway, otherwise known as 2020.

“When lockdown started we were all cooking a lot more than usual and we sent each other the meals we made,” says Dalah. “We discovered it was hard to find a piece of fish and sides, that was approachable and at a reasonable price point.”

The trio, who have an undeniable passion for health, drew up plans to serve easy, simple approachable food in a nice space, or as Dalah puts it, they wanted to give the classic Australian fish shop a facelift. They contacted Joel Bennett ex- Three Blue Ducks, who signed on as head chef at FISH SHOP to create a Mediterranean inspired menu, featuring coastal middle-east inspired dishes with seasonal changes. They also pride themselves on locally and sustainably caught seafood. 

“Our focus is to showcase the kind of seafood we have readily available to use in Australia and New Zealand, but prepare and present it in a way that is completely different to Fishbowl,” says Dalah. “At the same time, we wanted food people could eat three times a week. It had to be healthy, because, at FISH SHOP and Fishbowl, we don’t compromise on flavour or quality.”

FISH SHOP bondi dishes
Photo By Kitti Gould

Diners will find the menu is shareable, and casual, but don’t expect greasy fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, there is none of that here. Although you will find battered fish and chips on the menu, that is glorious. Expect a list of market fish from ocean trout to swordfish, and another list of sauces and condiments to accompany the fish of your choice. Then choose your vegetables, including cauliflower with tahini, raisins and pistachios, eggplant, and charred cabbage, or a salad from rocket and fennel to pickled cauliflower and apricot. Next up is sides, be sure to get the Sebago potatoes or the fries served with house ketchup. There’s even a range of snacks to choose from including, oysters, mushroom arancini, and calamari. The idea is to pick a fish and pair it with a few sides to share. 

Fish Shop is nothing like the average fish shop you would come across in Bondi. If you choose to dine in, you will find a counter-service style eatery that caters to the date night crowd or friends and family dinners. Grab a stool by the window, or sit outside to enjoy the afternoon sun, it’s up to you. There is a flood of natural light that keeps the restaurant fresh, and modern, but it’s the atmosphere that adds to the Bondi elegance here. On any given night, you will see a line of people, waiting for a seat, and even more inside, enjoying good food and good wine. FISH SHOP seems to be the hottest new restaurant in Bondi, and it doesn’t even have beach views. Instead, it sits on a corner street, with a big patch of grass out the front for picnics, and Bondi Beach is a few hundred metres down the road.

Much like Fishbowl, FISH SHOP offers to-go boxes, so you can take your meal down the road to have on the beach or at home. 

“We are working on an offshoot of FISH SHOP called FS2G, which is opening adjacent to the restaurant and offers a menu that is pared back, but offers the same classics you would find at FISH SHOP—just 100% take away,” says Dalah. 

For now, FISH SHOP doesn’t have any plans to expand, although Dalah says he could see it working anywhere. 

“We never set out to open other locations, we just want to focus on this one and get it right.”

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All of the Sydney Food News You Need to Know

For all your Sydney food moments.

Family or friends having pizza party dinner. Flat-lay of people clinking glasses with red wine over rustic wooden table with various kinds of Italian pizza, top view. Fast food lunch, celebration (Family or friends having pizza party dinner. Flat-lay
Photo By Foxys_forest_manufacture/Getty Images

There’s plenty to celebrate this year, from new menus to restaurants throwing parties, bottomless brunches, and more.

Here, we have the latest on Sydney’s food news, from chefs taking over restaurants to limited-edition menus and feasts for all your friends to enjoy.

  • To celebrate World Gin Day, and for one week only, gin and food lovers can try nagashi-sōmen—translating to ‘flowing noodles’— which sees noodles sent down a bamboo chute for diners to collect with chopsticks. The one-off experience will be hosted at Kid Kyoto, where guests can enjoy their flowing noodles alongside a menu paired with delicious KI NO BI Gin cocktails. Purchase tickets here.
  • Tuck into a Fireball Burger
  • Feeling the cold? Fireball Whisky and Bar Luca have teamed up for the ultimate firey menu. Offered for a limited time only, head down to Bar Luca for $6 Fireball shots all day, a Fireball shot and cocktail on arrival, and an all-you-can-eat bites of the full “Blame Fireball” menu on Saturday, July 1. Book a spot here
  • For two nights only, on Tuesday the 20th and Tuesday 27th of June, Graeme Hunt, Head Chef of Sydney’s trending late-night bar and dining venue at Zaffi, will be stepping up to the kitchen at award-winning bar PS40. Pop-up guests can expect a mosaic of colourful Lebanese-inspired bar snacks paired with exclusive midweek sips made by the mastermind behind the experimental bar, Michael Chiem.
  • Fan of Cinderella? The Great Hall is transforming into The Royal Palace for an enchanting high tea from July 1-2. There will be dancing and fun, and then Cinderella will run out of the venue leaving behind her glass slipper—the search for the missing beauty will begin. Tickets for the Cinderella High Tea costs $80-85 and you can purchase them here.
  • Grill’d has dropped two new burgers, and they’re beyond anything we could have imagined. Taking inspiration from Mexico, Grilld’s two new burgers are a Zesty Mexi and Luxe Nacho Burger. The Zesty Mexi features a black bean pattie with corn chips, tasty cheese, slaw, jalapenos, and chipotle mayo mixed with green tomatillo lime salsa. For meat lovers, the Luxe Nacho Burger is the same as the Zesty Mexi, but with a premium Wagyu pattie.

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