“Simple fresh food. Local and environmentally clean. Handmade as much as possible. Cooked using clean oil. Reasonable pricing.” It’s Isa Ham’s summary of what sets his fish and chip shop, The Jolly Roger, above the rest.
Fish and chips are traditional Aussie fare. Do you remember when fish and chips was the standard Sunday night dinner? Holiday times added the nostalgia of carrying newspaper-wrapped hot chips and battered fish down to the beach, the late afternoon sea spray stinging our faces. Chips were often hand-cut and fresh fish was dipped in batter before being slipped into the fryer.
Fish and chips were so popular that many shops resorted to cooking pre-processed fish and chips to save labour costs and increase profit. It was ‘piracy’ of the worst sort. With the best fresh Aussie fish exported, inferior frozen, pre-crumbed, pre-battered, imported seafood became the norm, leading to a plethora of issues, not least being the possible loss of our own fishing industry.
In the last five years, however, more environmentally aware consumers began to demand more information and higher standards of seafood, choosing to buy from fish and chip shops that only use Australasian fish.
“All our fish are delivered fresh except the hoki, which comes from New Zealand,” Isa tells us. “We use barra from Humpty Doo, so it’s not seasonal, black tip flake from North Queensland, local tiger prawns from the trawlers, and local squid. There are daily fresh specials which help to keep stocks low so that our fish is fresh all the time,” Isa says.
Far from pirating on the high seas, as the store’s name suggests, Isa ‘fries his fish’ closer to home (literally). Having left his corporate career in manufacturing, Isa’s goal was to start his own business in the food industry, passing on his passion for fresh, local and sustainable seafood to his customers.
With his partner Emily Liu bringing skills in Thai cuisine, the couple handmake most sauces, including a vegan tartare, garlic butter and nam jim, (the only exception being the Kiwi tomato sauce), putting in the hard yards to achieve a superior product.
Targetting the health market, The Jolly Roger carries a range of keto-friendly dishes: fish crumbed in a secret mix that includes almond flour and parmesan, keto zucchini chips, and the street grill skewers of local tiger prawn and squid. Their salads, such as cauli couscous and Asian slaw, are made daily to eat in or to take away in recycled and biodegradable packaging.
Burgers are a hit, including the Cowshed beef burger using patties from the local ‘keto butcher’, Cowshed Butchery, Robina as well as our favourite, the softshell crab burger.
Isa and Emily make every attempt to cater for everyone. For gluten-free diners, chips, skewers and salads fit the bill, the ‘tofish’ burger pleasing the vegan market. Items are priced so locals can make dining here a weeknight treat. There are lunch deals and a kids’ menu as well, encouraging families to stay a while.
“We encourage people to come along, enjoy having a meal out, have a drink and be happy. The Jolly Roger is all about locals. You’ll meet other locals in here, some who come in three or four times a week,” Isa says.
Pointing to the block behind us, Isa tells me: “I grew up in Miami so it’s really special to be able to open up a shop here in the neighbourhood.”
Fresh, local, sustainable. With two different Black Hops beers on tap (and wine and champagne piccolos in the fridge), it’s easy to feel good about eating at your local fish and chip shop, especially if it’s The Jolly Roger!
3/110 Mountain View Ave, Miami Ph: 07 5645 5339 Open: Tues – Sun 11am – 8pm