Blue Ocean Fish & Chips in Augusta has won plenty of fans for its fresh seafood and the rest of the country has taken notice now as the local business vies for top spot as best fish ‘n’ chips in Australia. By LISA SHEARON.
West Australian fish-and-chip shops are making their mark on the seafood landscape, with Augusta’s Blue Ocean Fish & Chips currently in the top 20 in voting for the national awards.
Owners Dave Marshall and Linda Harris were pleasantly surprised to discover they had been nominated in the competition to Fishing for compliments recognise the country’s best fish-and-chips using sustainably-managed produce.
“It was great to be nominated, and great for the town, too,” Dave says.
Linda and Dave opened Blue Ocean just over two years ago, after Dave ran a fish-and-chip shop in Australind, and Eaton before that.
“Augusta is a great place to live,” Dave says. “Because it’s a holiday town, everyone who visits the shop is in a happy mood. It’s a bit different from running a fish-and-ship shop in suburbia!”
Fresh, local produce takes centre-stage at Blue Ocean Fish & Chips. The seafood is brought in from the ocean and sold from Augusta’s marina, then brought to the shop, where it’s prepared and ready to eat almost immediately.
“The key is to have fresh, quality fish,” Dave says. “We use local dhufish and local bronze whaler shark which I prepare, and local whiting prepared by Augusta fisherman Trevor Price.
You can’t beat them. We also use local potatoes, sourced from farms around the Manjimup area and processed locally.”
When it comes to cooking the perfect fish-and-chips, Dave isn’t giving his secrets away – although he says it comes down to quality produce and clean oil.
“The secret’s in the herbs and spices of the batter,” he explains. “It’s a recipe that we’ve used for a long time. It’s also important to have clean oil; we filter ours every single day. The batter comes out nice and crispy when you use clean oil.”
Second-best simply isn’t good enough at Blue Ocean. As Linda explains, if the produce isn’t perfect, it doesn’t go out.
“We take huge pride in what we do,” she says. “If we don’t think it’s right, we’ll cook another lot. We really take pride in our product. We take pride in our customer service and do the very best we can.”
As well as quality fish-and-chips, visitors to Blue Ocean can also expect a very warm welcome, as Dave and Linda try to get to know their customers by name.
“We get a lot of holiday-makers coming in year after year,” Linda says. “They come in and say, “Hello! Remember us?” and we do try to!
In WA, Blue Ocean now sits in third position, behind Rockingham’s Bayside Fish and Chips and Albany store Ocean and Paddock. The competition aims to recognise the country’s best seafood using sustainably-managed produce by gathering votes from customers around Australia who award points to stores based on quality, taste, service, labelling and information available on the seafood sold.
Fish and chips
You’ll find plenty of great fish and chip shops, fish pubs and seafood restaurants around the region – here are a few of our favourites.
Squidlips Dunsborough – a fish and chip shop with sushi and salads in Dunsborough
Squidlips Margaret River – a fish and chip shop with sushi and salads in Margaret River
Cod Rocks Busselton – a traditional fish and chip shop in Busselton
Clancys Fish Pub – a family-friendly fish pub just outside Dunsborough
Katch-Up Seafood Grill – a dedicated seafood restaurant in Margaret River town
What shall we do in Augusta?
A favourite for family fishing holidays and sightseeing, Augusta is now also becoming a mecca for adventure.
World-class windsurfing, kite-surfing, paddling, snorkelling and whale watching are some of the main Augusta attractions. The town is sheltered by Flinders Bay and overlooks the tranquil Hardy Inlet.