Josh & Julie Niland to open Charcoal Fish
Julie and Josh Niland say they were inspired to start the new venture by the popular “charcoal chicken shop” model. With so many Australian families (the Nilands included) enjoying the convenience of a healthy meal of grilled chicken and salad on a near-weekly basis, the pair wondered why this same simple luxury didn’t seem to extend to fish.
“Our mission is to make restaurant-quality, charcoal-grilled Australian fish accessible to everyone,” Josh says of Charcoal Fish. “We’ve taken away all the hesitancy associated with a fish meal – fishy smells and pin bones are a thing of the past. There has never been a simpler way to get fish on your dinner table, or beach towel.”
The menu will feature Aquna Murray Cod from Griffith, NSW, which was chosen for its performance as a sweet, white-fleshed fish that grills well, and its stability for the trip home – the flesh remains juicy and skin keeps crisp. The Murray cod also provides for an innovative use of all its parts (92%) in line with the Nilands’ waste minimisation practices.
“We have always championed diversity in the fish we use, but Charcoal Fish is about being dynamic and diverse with one fish,” Josh explains.
Gravy will be made from the Murray cod heads, frames and fins, and the gravy will be spooned over floury baps filled with picked rotisserie cod fillet. The offal from the fish will be removed and allocated to the team at Saint Peter and Fish Butchery, where they will continue to make a charcuterie selection for retail and restaurants. The collars will be grilled over charcoal and served up with a fermented tamarind hot sauce, and the fat from the fish will be rendered and added to a Murray cod fat caramel ice cream.
On the rotisserie will be whole Murray cod with stuffing, spinning over charcoal and cooking until crackled to perfection. This will provide Charcoal Fish with a picked, boneless fillet for its rotisserie cod and gravy rolls and salad of rotisserie cod – cod skin, butter lettuce, avocado and charcoal tomatoes. Salads and charcoal-grilled vegies will be ever-changing to ensure the offering is hyper-seasonal and relevant to the venue and its location.
The show-stopping “big-ticket item” on the Charcoal Fish menu will be a square of butterflied, boneless Murray cod, which will be available as a whole fillet, half, quarter or single, all grilled over charcoal. This is designed to be perfect for families big and small, and as an easy dinner option on any night of the week, paired with a salad.
“Fish always carries a high level of expectation due to its price point,” Niland says. “The generation before me grew up in an era where fish had always been relatively cheap and less celebrated. Often, thoughtlessly captured or processed fish were dredged in batter and fried for the lowest price. Unfortunately, the damage this has done to consumer perception when purchasing takeaway fish is not to spend more than $12 a portion.
“We aim to elevate the standards of fish and how we cook, prepare and store it. We’re also trying to create a fish shop that the next generation can walk into with their families. A fish shop where the meal exceeds all expectations, while remaining accessible. Our guests will see the provenance, science, love and attention that’s gone into creating their meal.”
Charcoal Fish, located at 670 New South Head Road, Rose Bay, is due to open in late June 2021. For more information, head to charcoalfish.com