Fishermen’s Wharf, Woy Woy

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Fishermen’s Wharf has a surprisingly varied beer menu. This totally gets my vote. Woy Woy is utterly devoid of decent drinking holes – actually, holes is a better description of what there is – so forking out to eat good seafood in order to drink beer with a water view doesn’t seem too much of a hardship. Sitting out on the Wharf itself you could be forgiven for thinking you’re actually somewhere rather nicer than, well, Woy Woy. The view is of Brisbane Water, Pelican Island and pelicans – lots of pelicans, some of them roosting mere feet away, eyeing up you, and more specifically, your fish based meal._MG_4484

A pelican…

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Pelican Island, as seen from your table….

There’s actually 3 parts to the ‘Wharf: it’s a multifunctional wet fish/takeaway chippie & cafe/fish restaurant and seems to be pretty popular, particularly since recent accolades. The restaurant is at the back, approached via a side passageway (look up as you walk along, to see curious (hopeful?) pelicans looking down at you from their perches on the roof), and is kitted out bare boards/casual/rustic stylee._MG_4495

Rustic Stylee…..We’re not sure why…

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The restaurant wharf extension

We’d had fish’n’chips from the takeaway before; reasonable stuff (still looking for an Australian equivalent of my beloved chippie in Aldeburgh, in the UK, with its amazing chips and beef dripping fried batter), but – and this might be my imagination – the chips are actually better from the restaurant than from the café out front. And I’m sure it’s the same kitchen. Is there a chip class system in place? Do they hold back the good stuff for the classier types round the back??_MG_4512

Fish of the day – $19.50

For these chips are really pretty good – approaching a glassy crunch on the outside, nice levels of those yummy, slightly browner, more translucent bits – only a fraction more fluffy action on the inside could make them any better. Practically a 9/10. Portion sizes decent too – I had 4 pieces of gurnard in my generic fish of the day and chips (“fry only” – like you’d want them grilled. Pah!) – $19.50. Mr C was cock-a-hoop with 2 fair sized blue swimmers in his crab hot pot special – $28, and though I think we could taste generic sweet chilli sauce making up the basis of the sauce, it was augmented with spring onions and other spicing to make it good enough for me to be chip dunking most of the evening._MG_4504

Blue swimmers, chilli crab

He’s previously had a lightly tarragon flavoured cream sauce with juicy clams plus a snapper & scallop ceviche during another visit – so that’s twice now he’s chosen better than me.  Not that my fish wasn’t well executed – crispy batter top and bottom, fish perfectly cooked through but not over on the thinner parts. I just wanted what he had. Again.

And then there’s the beer. A range of bottled from as far away as Mexico, California & Japan (2 types of rice beer!!) and as nearby as Erina (Six String Brewery, whose easy drinking Hefeweizen I rather took to), with home grown classics in between (Lord Nelson, Stone & Wood, Mountain Goat, Montieths from NZ). Something for everyone, just in time for summer.

I foresee many more visits….

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Awesome Chilli Ginger Crab Sauce


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Following on from my ‘how to humanely kill a crab’ post here, I promised y’all my crab sauce. So here it is.

Ingredients for 1kg of crab in the shell, in pieces (serves 2):

  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled
  • 2 long red chillies (more if you like really hot)
  • 50g onion
  • sesame oil for frying

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
  • 60ml Chinese Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind puree

Method

Mix all the sauce ingredients into a bowl and stir well.

Make sure you’ve sectioned the raw crab and cracked its claws so as to let in all the flavours:IMG_3469 - Version 2

Chop garlic, ginger, chilli and onion very finely:IMG_8968

Add a couple of tablespoons of the sesame oil to a wok and fry over a high heat until fragrant and slightly browned. IMG_3467 - Version 2Add the crab pieces, and turn with a wide spatula for a minute or so, until they just start to change colour:IMG_3472

Then add the sauce. Coat the crab thoroughly and cover the pan.

_MG_3486Lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, occasionally removing the lid to carefully turn the crab and baste it in the sauce.

Garnish with chopped spring onion and coriander, if desired. Tuck in with hands, napkins and any crab cutlery you may have. I like to poke about with a bamboo skewer for those awkward, reticent bits inside the claws.

Completed crab

I used a pair of mud crabs, but blue swimmers would be great too. This also works well for prawns!