1 The Strand, Williamstown. Phone: 9397 7404
Nice summer day, looking out over the bay towards the CBD, enough wind to keep the flies away, chish and fips – what could be better?
Top Of The Bay delivers all that, depending of course on the weather to come up with the full house.
If my most recent lunch there fell a little short of meals we’ve had there previously, it does nothing to diminish it in our eyes.
It’s one of the good ones of Willy, a suburb I can’t help but feel is a bit of an under-achiever.
Ferguson St, Nelson Pde – so many eating places, so much mediocrity.
Gems are hard to find, or such has been our experience of a decade-long fairly thorough exploration of the area.
In any case, Top Of The Bay was doing a roaring trade for this Sunday lunch hour. The service and waiting time were appropriately slick and efficient.
The bill for my fish of the day (bream), chips, three calamari rings and a can of that Coca Cola stuff ran to a more than reasonable $12.70.
The oil from the fish had seeped through to spoil about a quarter of my chips, the rest of them being just on the right side of good.
The calamari was battered, rather than being the more familiar crumbed variety.
Nothing wrong with that in my book – it hardly makes any sense to get squeamish about batter when you’re on a fish and chips mission.
But in this case that batter was voluminous and the calamari rings very thin, so the whole deal was out of whack.
The fish was the star, the batter crunchy and adhering to the marine matter with admirable stubborness, the flesh tender and tasty. The whole fillet did start to disintegrate as I worked from one end to the other, but I loved every salty, greasy, delicious mouthful.
Maybe the slight flaws could be attributed to the rather frantic trade they were doing while I was there.
Any quibbles were easy to dismiss, as it was something of a miracle that it was sunny but warm rather than broiling, and that there was indeed enough wind to keep the flies at bay without the necessity of keeping one hand on my meal and belongings to stop them being swept into the bay.
At Top Of The Bay, where all eating is done outdoors on the tables provided or across the road and closer to the water, such factors have as much to do with the quality of the experience as anything cooked up in the deep friers inside.