The renowned chef Nigel Slater once said, when referring to hot chips, that "salty, buttery fingers are an indescribably good feast ... especially when they are someone else's."
I'd like to take that even further, those fingers are even more delicious when you're both on the beach, shoulders tingling from too much sun, the sound of the waves, the squawk of a greedy seagull coming your way, the knowledge that you're on holidays with no where to go.
Here are some favourite fish and chip stops on the South Coast.
Pelican Rocks, Greenwell Point
How can a town, one which is not on the main route through the coast, boast two award-winning fish and chip shops? There's DJs and Pelican Rocks, literally within a stone's throw of each other. I ventured into Pelican Rocks on the back of its recent win in the Wotif.com awards which named it the best in NSW. The judging panel has it spot on. You could choose your fish, I went with flathead and it was plump and well-cooked. Good fish to batter ratio, the batter light and fluffy and golden brown. Chips and scallops were also well cooked. The calamari tender and light. HIghly recommended. And there were pelicans.
Smokey Dan's, Tomakin
Sure the focus here is on the amazing things the team can do over the barbecue - try the pulled pork or the 24-hour smoked frisky brisky burger served with slaw, gherkins and signature smokey sauce. But they do a fine fish and chips, too. Fish is plump and well-cooked, never too greasy, scallops are thick but tender at the same time. Good kids menu, we just love the idea of squidly rings. Smokey Dan's is also proving to be a great venue for live music.
Grey Dolphins, Mollymook
Grey Dolphins sits, somewhat inconspicuously, between a bottle shop (handy) and a bakery, in the retro Mollymook shops. The fancy Bannister's Pavilion is across the road, its luminous blue pool shining brightly, with cool people sipping champagne on the balcony. But the Mollymook shops are all hot asphalt, with a '70s feel.
The fish is excellent, with a good batter ratio, the chips and scallops full of soft potato. There's a great range of burgers and pizzas too. Save room for ice cream - there's a thousand flavours (or so it seems). The choc-mint milkshake was a highlight of the summer. The staff are super-friendly.
Sandy Foot Pizza Cafe, Malua Bay
The best thing about the Sandy Foot is heading across the road to the park. There's no need to get sand on your feet again after you've packed up and are heading home. The food is great too. There's a good selection of fish - the crumbed fish is especially good. Throw in a garden salad and you'll feel almost healthy. The pizzas are a great option too. Try a flying pig (olive oil, smoked garlic, bacon and parsley) or a funghi goat (smoked garlic, olive oil, mushroom, goat's cheese and parsley) for something a little more upmarket. But it's all about crossing the road.
Bawley Takeaway, Bawley Point
Another good old-fashioned place, serving traditional fare. A good selection of fish, burgers and pizza, and they don't do a bad coffee either. The calamari was a highlight of our visit, and there are proper potato scallops with minimal grease. Service is friendly and quick, and the place always seems busy. There's a grassed area at the shops, or you can head back over to the beach, where there's a large park with a playground and easy access to the sand. Lash out and eat on the gantry as the sun sets.
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