Altona Beach Bites

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Altona Beach Bites, 137 Esplanade, Altona. Phone: 9398 1444

Alongside a range of your regulation soft drinks, there’s bottles and cans of Lemon & Paeroa in the fridge.

The blackboard specials line-up includes kumara fritters.

On a wall there is a number plate-style sign that says: “Kia Ora.”

Below it is one of the handwritten variety saying: “Uncooked mutton birds in brine.”

Yes, this is Kiwi territory – so naturally I feel right at home for lunch on a sunny day right next to Altona Beach.

The place used to be called Altona Ice, but has been run for the past couple of years by Kristen and Marty, the latter being the New Zealand factor.

It’s a cheerful old-school fish and chippery that also does souvlakis, burgers and even mussel chowder.

There’s only a single bench seat and no dedicated interior seating for eating.

There are, though, a handful of outdoor tables, and happily the one that is being shaded from the sun becomes vacant just as my lunch number is called.

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My outdoor lunch is most excellent – and certainly a lot more toothsome than the pallid impression cast by my photo would suggest.

The very good chips are old-school, too, and of uniform crispness.

The calamari rings ($1 each) are actually “calamari rings” – that is, surimi-style, processed relatives of seafood extender.

I used to get a bit sniffy and even angry about this kind of thing, but since researching surimi last year I’ve mellowed.

These are well cooked and taste fine, though I’d prefer to be informed when I order.

In any case, Kristen later tells me that they often do have real-deal calamari on the go.

My butterfish ($5.80) is superb and delicious in every way. This is state-of-the-art battered and deep-fried fish.

It’s bloody big, too!

Encased in good batter that adheres really well, the fish is mild of flavour and both delicate and firm.

I suspect Altona Beach Bites probably gets a bit insane on sunny weekends, especially in tandem with the adjoining ice-cream parlour, so mid-week visits are probably the go.

Funny thing is, I have no recollection of what Lemon & Paeroa tastes like.

And I have no desire whatsoever to refresh my memory – even if the stuff is “World Famous In New Zealand”.

Altona Beach Bites on Urbanspoon

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10 thoughts on “Altona Beach Bites

  1. L&P is great—I always have it when I go to NZ, though I don’t drink fizzy soft drink much here. Like KFC, they abbreviated the name and I don’t even know if young NZers would realise it was called Lemon and Paeroa. There used to be a NZ shop up the road from me on High St, Northcote, but they only lasted a year or two. They sold chocolate fish, Buzz bars, Pinky bars, and so on. Is there any food you miss from NZ, Kenny? What about proper whitebait fritters? You can’t get them much here.

  2. Will have to bike out to Altona and try the kumara fritters with a bottle of L&P.
    As for whitebait fritters, they can be bought at the currently-being-revamped My Mexican Cousin, underneath the Recital Centre – they have been trialling a New Zealand menu and it’s taking off – they have decided to make the change. Recently enjoyed a whitebait fritter encased in Vogels Bread with kumara chips – so good – on the lunch and dinner menu. Ingredients being flown in directly from NZ.

  3. Agree with Caron, L&P *is* great! We’re just back from a week in NZ and I had forgotten how tasty a drink it is. Top marks for the kumara fritters too. Does this shop offer Hoki though, for a true Kiwi fish n chip experience? :)

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