Frydays Fish and Chippery, Cairns
New on the scene on the corner of Shields and Abbott Street in the Cairns CBD is Frydays Fish and Chippery which has been open for a few weeks now. Driving along Abbott Street it’s a little hard not to notice the bright blue neon signs advertising the new eatery. After driving around and around for a park early last week so I could grab some groceries from Woolies I ended up finding a park near Frydays and went over to have a look at their menu. The menu at Frydays Fish and Chippery is pretty much stock standard for what you would normally find at a Fish and Chip shop with a few more gourmet options like Sweet Potato Chips and Tempura Batter thrown in. There is everything from burgers to salads to Coconut Crumbed Prawns with over 10 different types of sauce to choose from including Nahm Jim and Goats Cheese Aioli (yum!). The prices on the menu at Frydays are also very reasonable and it’s nice to see somewhere not charging through the roof just because of their location.
Looking for somewhere to grab a quick dinner before I flew out for work last Friday and so I didn’t have to rely on the ‘Curry or the Pasta’ on the plane MS and I went to Frydays. We went in for dinner at about 6.30pm, just in time to catch all the bats leaving for the evening much to the delight of the tourists. The corner of Abbott and Shields Street is a very busy corner and certainly a prime position for a Fish and Chip Shop, although obviously not a prime position for just any cafe since the last two (Harry’s and some New York Pizza place didn’t last very long). MS and I sat down at one of the communal type benches on the Abbott Street side of Frydays and had a look over the menus. MS had whinged and complained that he didn’t want to go somewhere with greasy food for dinner but since it was my so called ‘last supper’ he didn’t really have a choice.
In the end he found something on the menu that he wanted and I went up to the counter to order – Two pieces of Spanish Mackerel with Tempura Batter (AU$8 each), two serves of Sweet Potato Chips (AU$5 each) and a ‘Tasty Tempter’ of Lemon and Parmesan Herb Crumbed Calamari (AU$9.50) with some Garlic Aioli for MS and some Cocktail Sauce for me. In the end it came to just over AU$36 which I thought was fairly reasonable. The guy that served me at the counter was helpful and friendly and I noticed about 5 or 6 staff in the back. The place looks to be pretty much entirely run by backpackers and although the owners are locals they weren’t anywhere to be seen. I sat back down at our communal table and noticed a couple of American tourists at the table next to us, a backpacker waiting for his takeaway at the end of our table and a couple of locals (I think) sitting at a small table on the Shield Street side.
After about five minutes a waitress bought out a glass of ice with a can of Coke for MS and then about five minutes later our food arrived – each fillet served on a bamboo cutting board alongside the a bowl of Sweet Potato Chips with a small bowl of green salad. The Lemon and Parmesan Herb Crumbed Calamari came out on a separate board inside a small deep fryer serving basket, a super cute way of serving it. On the side was the small dish of Tartare Sauce and another small bowl of green salad.
Firstly, I noticed that both of our Mackerel fillets had the wrong batter. The batter that we had on our fish was more like the other option of Beer Batter rather than the light and crisp Tempura Batter that we had ordered. It was thick and greasy, as you would expect Beer Batter to be but we didn’t take it back since we were pushed for time with me having to fly out in the next hour. It was nice but like I said it was too greasy and I couldn’t finish all of my fish (I always finish my fish) since the grease filled me up too much. The Sweet Potato Chips were beautiful and sweet with just a slight crispness to them. Although I thought the serving size was a little bit small for AU$5 in the end I couldn’t finish them all anyway. The sauces that we ordered were stuffed up and instead we received one Tartare (so that meant we had two because one came with the Calamari) and one Garlic Aioli. I caught one of the waitresses attention as she walked past and off she went to fetch a small dish of Cocktail Sauce. She replaced a Tartare with the Cocktail Sauce and took away the extra Tartare. She could have at least left it. What if I had already dipped one of my chips in that spare Tartare? Was it going to someone else for them to dip their chips in it or down the drain? My guess is the first one.
The Calamari was lovely and tender with a really yummy Lemon and Parmesan Herb Crumb enveloped around it. Upon ordering at the counter I asked the guy serving me if it was local squid to which the other guy listening in the background replied that it wasn’t sourced in Cairns but it was indeed Australian squid. That’s all I wanted to know and I was more than happy with that answer. I thought that the serving size for the squid was very reasonable for AU$9.50 and although MS and I did our best to eat it all we couldn’t finish it. I think the fish took up just a little too much room in both of our stomachs. The one thing that I must comment on is the dire state of the three green salads served to us. Each of them looked like they had been sitting in the little bowls all day and looked very withered and tiresome. Neither MS or I touched our salads and I kind of got the feeling that we weren’t the only ones that hadn’t touched those particular salads on that particular day. I had a look at the salads in the window and there are a few other salads to choose from with your Fish and Chips like Potato Salad and Cous Cous Salad. I am pretty sure these ones cost extra which is why we just ended up with the plain old green salad (with an emphasis on old).
Despite the greasy fish and the ordinary salad I did actually enjoy my meal, MS however did not. He claimed that the food was too greasy. I tried to remind him that we did in fact just dine at a Fish and Chip shop so technically it was always going to be greasy. What does he know about tasty food anyway? Most of all I enjoyed the proximity of Frydays in relation to everything that was going on. It’s a great spot to people watch especially, as I said, in the early evening when the bats are flying over. Tourists really are absolutely captivated by them. I like the fresh and vibrant design of the place and the communal benches out the front (there are tables for those that don’t want to sit at a communal bench). The service was good although we did get asked by two waitstaff how everything was within about five minutes of each other. That will all iron out over time. I think with few minor tweaks with the food and service and the owners of Frydays Fish and Chippery are most certainly onto a winner. Up until Frydays turned up Cairns CBD was lacking in the fish and chip shop department so it’s opening can only mean good news for locals and tourists that enjoy a bit a fried food (I know I do).
Frydays Fish and Chippery
Cnr Shields and Abbott Streets, Cairns QLD 4870
Ph: (07) 4041 1918
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun 9am – 10pm