Fish and chips are traditionally associated with the coast, but at Stirling, customers are driving up from the Adelaide plains just to seek out a $6 chip butty from new takeaway restaurant and fishmonger, Angler.
Catching even more interest than the chips, which are hand-made with real potatoes, is an offering of woodfire-grilled seafood, dry-aged seafood smallgoods such as kingfish pastrami, and a focus on the underutilised South Australian fish varieties.
Angler opened in January, founded by local businesswoman Amanda Prance in partnership with her nephew and accomplished chef Sam Prance-Smith.
The concept for a combined takeaway/fishmonger business came about after the pair shared a disappointing meal of takeaway fish and chips.
“We were just sitting there eating these disgusting fish and chips and Sam said imagine if we actually had our own restaurant, and described the concept which Angler is about today – restaurant-quality food in takeaway form,” says Prance.
Along with its refined take on fish and chips, Angler also sells fresh fish and a unique array of smallgoods prepared in a dry-ager, which is more traditionally associated with beef.
All produce is ethically-sourced, through a partnership with Fair Fish SA which puts more money back into the pockets of local fishermen for their catch. This includes often-discarded varieties such as leather jackets and sand whiting. Customers will also find redfin, mulloway, and snook on the menu.
Prance-Smith has worked in top venues such as Heston Blumenthal’s famous three Michelin-starred Fat Duck Restaurant, as well as celebrated kitchens in Melbourne. Closer to home, the chef’s resumé includes the Star of Greece and the Salopian Inn.
After Angler opened in January, a second chef with Michelin three-star experience, Jeremy Arrascaeta, landed at Prance-Smith’s doorstep by fluke.
Originally from the Netherlands, Arrascaeta was working as a chef on Kangaroo Island at Hanson Bay Sanctuary and Flinders Chase Café, which was destroyed by December’s bushfires.
After evacuating the island and driving to Stirling, Arrascaeta was looking for a campsite when he parked in front of Angler where the dry ager in the window captured his curiosity. He walked in, and Smith offered him a job.
The Dutch chef has since introduced carp bacon and the carp burger, along with an assortment of dry-aged seafood creations.
“Carp bacon kind of confuses you the first time you try it because it’s got all the flavours of bacon,” says Arrascaeta.
“Carp is great produce. Because it’s so oily, if you handle it right you can actually do so much more than what people think.”
The ever-changing menu features leather jackets, sand whiting, and Tommy ruffs when in season. Angler sources Coorong mullet, mulloway, and carp from Coorong Wildlife.
Arrascaeta is the dry-aging expert, curing everything from sashimi to fish sausages and barramundi crackling.
“I love organised chaos. And that’s the same for my dry-age recipes as well, they’re organised, but they change constantly; there’s not one thing in the agers that will be the same week-after-week,” says Arrascaeta.
Angler has introduced a new twist on the classic chip sandwich (chip butty), made with a black squid-ink bun.
“It’s not a normal chip butty. We do a black bun with squid ink, which is a very nice contrast with those golden crispy chips,” says Arrascaeta.
Prance says Angler has embraced varieties of fish that anglers often throw back and aims to educate consumers about the challenges faced by local fishermen.
“When we first opened, people were mostly buying classic fish and chips. But now the boys are pushing boundaries and we’ve really got a following of people asking what we’re doing next: pastrami kingfish, all the smallgoods, varieties of sausages, and dumplings,” Prance says.
“We’ve got a scallop pie: we now only do it on a Sunday because it was getting too busy, selling 150 a week. People would come just for the scallop pie,” she says.
“For the chips, the boys go to great lengths to use real potatoes, because most fish and chip shops use reconstituted frozen chips, which you can’t really call a potato.”
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