Monday, June 27, 2011

Stanley’s Fish Café

Present: Sam, Mele, Tallora and Cristi.


I’ve got to admit, Sam and I have been avoiding Stanley’s for a few weeks. Here are just a few of the reasons:

a) It's expensive
b) It's the unofficial quarters of the South Australian branch of ‘Grey Power’
c) It exists in a time warp (circa 1985) in which deep frying and heavily crumbling delicate, juicy fresh fish fillets is still in vogue (the words ‘tempura’ or ‘fritto misto’ are not on the menu)
d) Grilling your fish costs an extra two dollars!

As complaining is my forte (yes, I do enjoy it), I will say that the sign of a bad restaurant can be found in the house salad. The salad was iceberg. It came with a light vinegar dressing one could barely taste. All that was missing was the sprig of parsley to garnish.
As for the fish part, one can only puzzle over the specials board which had “Greek Prawns” listed, a dish which included sherry, cream and capsicum.
What the bejeezus is Greek about that?
Or good, one might add?

One might ask the same thing about Greg Norman.
Wait a minute ... oh, I get it: "The Shark". In a place that serves fish. Very nice. Put that gag on the specials board, it's about to go off!
Further thought: a large portrait of a sportman known for choking hanging in a restaurant ... excellent.

Tallora took one for the team and ordered the ultimate in 1950s dining, the ‘Seafood mornay’. I’ve got to say that the words “DISGUSTING” flashed across my drunken mind like the tiny lights in the Rio Di Janeiro picture, but it was actually pretty good.

Unlike the picture of Rio

Probably the best I’ve ever had, but I prefer to think of Tuna Mornay as an abomination that belongs to the past, like Apricot Chicken or sausages in Keen’s curry powder.

Dear friends, do not go to Stanley’s. It’s an expensive RSL.

However, the fish was extremely well cooked, for which I award Stanley’s 45/100.


Mele's not wrong. When we conceived of the Gouger Street Epic, we imagined ourselves unearthing gem after undiscovered gem of Asian cuisine. Not, as it has turned out so far, chicken sandwiches, meatball-and-seafood subs and sneakily-disguised chops.

But nothing, nothing could have prepared us (more specifically: me) for ... BARRA GRENADA.
Take a tender, delicate piece of fried barramundi ...


This isn't even some gag photo we made up by sneaking some bacon sprinklin's from someone else's plate. I paid 29.9 of my excellent dollars for salty bacon and fresh-water fish. I'm obviously the dope in this situation – the buffoon, the fall guy - but I still feel like someone should get a wet fish in the moosh.
I can't even complain about it! It was the nicest fish'n'bacon dish I've ever eaten. And it's going straight into the Weirdest of the Weird Hall of Fame over there on your right, because: pesce e porco, Sam says NO.

Honorable mention: Tallora didn't only take one for the team, coming out a winner with the seafood mornay, but she was also broad-minded enough to try the luminous dipping sauce.

And after I eat this, you will give me the five bucks, right?

We only found out later from the forgetful waitress that it was mustard and lemon salad dressing she was spreading on her bread.

But, as always with these things, the important thing is that it's now behind us and we never have to go back.
You think we're doing this to broaden our horizons?
Expand our minds to new definitions of flavour?
Screw that! The motto of the Epic may well turn out to be "We Ate There So You Don't Have To"

Subtitle: "Iceberg and all, motherfucker"

We can now move on to cities of barbeque and great rivers of *ahem* barbeque and other things which may or may not have barbeque.

Next stop: Ba Guo Bu Yi


  1. great social anthropology folks. Field research with excellent methodologies.
    and to benefit other sentient beings? Maybe.

  2. Nana - Of course it's going to benefit! I've already had two people tell me they're never going to eat there. Surely that's a small triumph?

  3. Sam-don't you read ANYTHING on the internet?
    Apparently, EVERYTHING is better with bacon....
    anyway, I'm glad it tasted better than I would have thought.
    Mele- perhaps the Greek Prawns came from Greece? It's the only explanation I can think of.
    Nice review.

  4. Hey - I did say that it was the best fish'n'bacon meal I'd ever had!

  5. You poor poor bastards...... it was bad when I went there in 1989 and the fact that it still exists (presumably turning a profit) is not just frightening; it's depressing!

  6. I'm hoping that it will throw the rest of the restaurants into relief. And I imagine that even in '89 it was probably resting on its laurels a bit.

  7. About once every five years we go back just to see, and it's still the same and it's not the iceberg lettuce that gets me down (I likes a bit of iceberg so long as it's fresh and crunchy) so much as the overinflated prices which are, most definitely far too high.

  8. BaliMoz - One could say that for many things which deserve neither praise nor encouragement.

    TC - One could argue that any price was too high for bacon and fish.


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32