I knew this was not going to be fish 'n chips as normal (flabby tasteless white fish with overcooked, limp chippies) when a waiter suggested I might like to try a glass of Vasse Felix Sauvignon Blanc with my meal.
Glancing at the wine list, I saw an interesting mix of wines including a fairly impressive array of champagnes, just in case one might have something that needs a glass of Moet or Veuve to celebrate.
While the wine waiter came to the table, I chose to make my lunch selection gazing at the wide range of choices illustrated around the walls. It was tough, but deliberation managed to reveal some creamy baked miso scallops ($11.90) and a bento box ($24.50). There were so many tempters ranging from wagu beef shabu shabu or pork belly with tempura vegetables to Alaskan king crab or beer battered fish with chips and salad it was hard not to go back for seconds.
The fit out, with a semi-circle of cold cabinets filled with fresh fish and seafood in a wide variety of states, is about the only thing here that has hints of a fish and chip shop. But look just a little more closely and you’ll see live tanks of mud crabs and lobsters lurking just under the ceiling, a range of seafood meals that includes oysters Kilpatrick and lobster mornay.
And then there’s the sharks circling on the floor. Yes, the wonders of modern technology mean there’s a projection of fish and sharks swimming across the floor and you can ‘walk’ through the water leaving ‘ripples’. You have to see this for yourself.
The freshness and flavour of the sashimi and sushi is another bonus. Prepared by a bevy of Japanese chefs, it ticks all my boxes.
Another feature you won’t find in many fish and chipperies is a dedicated oyster shucker (pictured above) opening the most delicious oysters right before your eyes. My eyes nearly popped when I saw how juicy and plump they were. Look out for Moreton Bay oysters in the oyster bar from this week.
If Reef Seafood & Sushi looks familiar to you, it's probably because there’s another one at Ferry Road, Southport in a similar centre. It’s well worth exploring next time you are on the Gold Coast.
Greg and Ryan Kay (that's Ryan on the left and Greg on the right above) are the father and son team behind the Gasworks store. They are a little surprised by the immediate success of the venue and when I spoke to them, hoping for a bit of a lull.
Although the restaurant seats 80, it is very busy so be sure to allow time to snatch a table or get there early. (see my tip below).
Also keep an eye on the vacant restaurant spot next door – that’s tipped to be a new offspring from Peasant at The Barracks.
Reef Seafood & Sushi
Best tip: If you are aiming for dinner, get there well before 7pm to guarantee a table. No bookings.
Bottom line: Top quality, good value, fresh seafood.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK paid for this meal.