So the nursery rhyme “Butcher, Baker, Candle….” was so wrong. Where was the fish shop? I have such fond and fantastical memories of heading down to the market and standing at the fish counter in amazement. The colour, the scales, the glittery rainbow fins, the eyes, the men shouting and wrapping it all up in brown paper and string and being completely under the spell of the ocean. I’d love to invite you into Harbour Fish world.
Harbour Fish is a family owned and operated fishing business based in Dunedin. The freshest of fish is wild caught between Timaru and Bluff by small in-shore boats since the beginning. Working with around 20 boats who fish these particular waters means Harbour Fish know they only catch, process and sell Otago fish (do they have an accent I wonder?). The fresh waste is processed into fish food (which they pay for) and because they have a delivery of fish couriered twice a day to Queenstown, it’s fresher than the freshest fish from Freshville, Freshland.
Their theme song is a hearty sea shanty. It makes you feel cold, imagining rough seas and hard work. It leads you to create an image of family, of traditions of old, carved out in the ocean. Of gathering stock early in the morning, pulling, straining and lugging nets and pulling in catch. It made me want to know more. Who are Harbour Fish? And who exactly are these ‘boys’?
Having been around for a while they know what they want and what people call out for and so catching only what they need, Harbour Fish’s waste is minimal. Fish is caught at sea, iced, refrigerated and delivered to their Dunedin factory often within a matter of hours for processing, six days a week. Meaning Mr Gurnard can be in your taco before you can say “fish taco”. (Gurnard= an excellent fish for tacos thank you very much).
A beautiful shop which began it’s life in Port Chalmers which then moved to Central Dunedin when it outgrew its original spot and a second store has now, lucky for us, been placed in Frankton, Queenstown. This store has been with us for around three years and is bringing customers and local restaurants delicious, fresh and often lesser known varieties (be a daredevil!) of wonderful salty friends.
Blue cod wings anyone? Delicious deep fried like a chicken wing!
Gurnard, Tarakihi, Hapuku, Octopus, Monk, Moki, Sole, Elephant, Blue Cod (of course), Brill (the best name EVER), Salmon, Live; Crayfish, Mussels, Clams and Oysters (shucked to order) .
Amazingly helpful around all your fish questions “which fish is best for Sashimi?”. “Which fish is best for mixing with basil?”. “Which one will be best to name Brian?” (I don’t know about you but fish should always have names). They also can show you how to shuck Oysters, have regular delicious recipes and helpful hints on what to try, and chocolate fish for the wee ones.
Things you never dreamed would go with fish and have previously been too scared to try. I don’t know about you but I am always slightly intimidated by cooking fish and what to put with it.
You can pop in on a Monday and know the fish will be completely different to a Wednesday. This presents the first world problem of; which day do you visit? And if you don’t come in tomorrow will you miss something you could cook up for a friend and completely knock their socks off?
Staff are knowledgeable, friendly and absolutely not going to laugh at you if you’ve never tried seafood and just want to experiment.
Lining the shelves in the Queenstown shop are a wonderful range of local and international ‘additions’ to go with your fish dishes and on your table. Want to impress your future mother in law with seafood paella or risotto? They’ve got the goods. Ask them all about their wonderful range of olives, batters, soy sauce, oils and hot sauces.
Open seven days so you can whip up a fish frenzy on a Monday through to Sunday. Is there anything more satisfying than a huge new fish sitting waiting for you to get creative on the bbq?
In their own words. Fish is “Bloody fresh as”.
Harbour Fish is now a firm favourite in my shopping week. I love seeing what they have up on the board, having a little game with myself; Elephant? Brill? Their song planted firmly in my brain.
9 McBride Street
03 4511 402
This post is sponsored by Harbour Fish but as always if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t write about it.