The Young Guns Behind Fishbowl Are Also Behind Bondi’s Hottest New Restaurant

Shopfront FISH SHOP Bondi
Photo By Kitti Gould

Fishbowl founders, Nathan Dalah, Nic Pestalozzi, and Casper Ettelson, first opened Fishbowl in Bondi, five years ago. Today, they have returned to the famed stretch of sand to open an entirely new concept, FISH SHOP. 

The idea was born from the year of takeaway, otherwise known as 2020.

“When lockdown started we were all cooking a lot more than usual and we sent each other the meals we made,” says Dalah. “We discovered it was hard to find a piece of fish and sides, that was approachable and at a reasonable price point.”

The trio, who have an undeniable passion for health, drew up plans to serve easy, simple approachable food in a nice space, or as Dalah puts it, they wanted to give the classic Australian fish shop a facelift. They contacted Joel Bennett ex- Three Blue Ducks, who signed on as head chef at FISH SHOP to create a Mediterranean inspired menu, featuring coastal middle-east inspired dishes with seasonal changes. They also pride themselves on locally and sustainably caught seafood. 

“Our focus is to showcase the kind of seafood we have readily available to use in Australia and New Zealand, but prepare and present it in a way that is completely different to Fishbowl,” says Dalah. “At the same time, we wanted food people could eat three times a week. It had to be healthy, because, at FISH SHOP and Fishbowl, we don’t compromise on flavour or quality.”

FISH SHOP bondi dishes
Photo By Kitti Gould

Diners will find the menu is shareable, and casual, but don’t expect greasy fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, there is none of that here. Although you will find battered fish and chips on the menu, that is glorious. Expect a list of market fish from ocean trout to swordfish, and another list of sauces and condiments to accompany the fish of your choice. Then choose your vegetables, including cauliflower with tahini, raisins and pistachios, eggplant, and charred cabbage, or a salad from rocket and fennel to pickled cauliflower and apricot. Next up is sides, be sure to get the Sebago potatoes or the fries served with house ketchup. There’s even a range of snacks to choose from including, oysters, mushroom arancini, and calamari. The idea is to pick a fish and pair it with a few sides to share. 

Fish Shop is nothing like the average fish shop you would come across in Bondi. If you choose to dine in, you will find a counter-service style eatery that caters to the date night crowd or friends and family dinners. Grab a stool by the window, or sit outside to enjoy the afternoon sun, it’s up to you. There is a flood of natural light that keeps the restaurant fresh, and modern, but it’s the atmosphere that adds to the Bondi elegance here. On any given night, you will see a line of people, waiting for a seat, and even more inside, enjoying good food and good wine. FISH SHOP seems to be the hottest new restaurant in Bondi, and it doesn’t even have beach views. Instead, it sits on a corner street, with a big patch of grass out the front for picnics, and Bondi Beach is a few hundred metres down the road.

Much like Fishbowl, FISH SHOP offers to-go boxes, so you can take your meal down the road to have on the beach or at home. 

“We are working on an offshoot of FISH SHOP called FS2G, which is opening adjacent to the restaurant and offers a menu that is pared back, but offers the same classics you would find at FISH SHOP—just 100% take away,” says Dalah. 

For now, FISH SHOP doesn’t have any plans to expand, although Dalah says he could see it working anywhere. 

“We never set out to open other locations, we just want to focus on this one and get it right.”

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