Swain’s is quite an unassuming fish & chips shop. There is no big signage proclaiming the name of the place or how good the food is. You actually wouldn’t know what the name of the shop is unless you look really closely. The front of the shop simply says “Fish & Chips”. It’s quite easy to miss, actually. It just looks so ordinary you wouldn’t think something extraordinary can come out of it.
the other signage with a tiny strip that says Swains
Gladstone is not really my favourite destination. But knowing I’ll be able to visit Swain’s always makes the trip a little more enjoyable. Thanks to my boss who introduced me to the joys of meals at Swain’s. I almost missed the opportunity as when I first visited it with my boss it was actually closed. Note to all, Swain’s is closed on Mondays! So, we tried again the next day and from then on I was hooked (pardon the pun)! If I’m in Gladstone all week I’ll be visiting Swain’s all week (except Monday, of course!).
I like my fish battered. I want none of those low fat grilled crap. I believe there’s no other way to have fish & chips but battered. Swain’s batter was light enough to just coat the fish and keep it nice and crisp. It has just enough flavour not to overpower the taste of the fish itself. And the most important thing of all, the fish is always fresh! How do I know? It does not taste fishy at all, that’s how I know! It tastes of the sea not fish saucy!
Who would have thought that frying chips would be so hard? It’s such simple food that if not done right it turns out to be a disaster! My idea of the perfect chip is like this. It has to be right size. It has to be about 5mm in thickness and approximately 10mm to 15mm wide, no more. And that’s exactly how Swain’s chips are. And the best thing…they are fried to perfection. Crunchy on the outside, soft and on the inside. The inside has to be like freshly mashed potato with nothing added yet. None of those al-dente chip crap. My chip has to have no bite at all!
The calamari was a bit of a disappointment though. I think it would be a lot better if fresh squid was used. The calamari has to be just the right size (not huge ones which tend to be tough). To get around this Swain’s common practice is to cut the main body of the calamari into “tentacles” rather then rings. It turns out alright most of the time. But it was just a bit tough today.
Nevertheless, the whole meal was still excellent! I’m giving it an 8.5 rather than a 9 because of the calamari.