Dough!, 115 Blackshaws Road, Newport. Phone: 9939 157
Can you remember the first time you consumed a beer-battered chip?
Blowed if I can … I think it may’ve been at a Grill’d outlet.
Since then, of course, beer-battered chips have become ubiquitous.
There’s a very good reason for that – at their best, they are sinfully delicious.
But here’s an interesting wrinkle – John at Dough! reckons that most outfits that serve beer-battered chips are actually serving brought-in products made with re-constituted potato.
In this scenario, your beer-battered chip would seem to bear a similar relationship to a spud that a nugget does to a chook.
I have no reason to doubt John’s assertion, though a quick online search didn’t turn up much.
But it makes sense, doesn’t it?
In any case, at John’s Newport pizza and fish ‘n’ chip emporium, he’s for sure taking another tack.
His chips are peeled – in a tumbler – and cut right there on the premises.
The result is a stark contrast to the crisp and puffy beer-battered chip.
John’s chips are quite easily identifiable as coming from real spuds – there’s dimples and imperfections and a profound degree of spudness.
This is my kind of nostalgia!
With my wonderful chips ($5 and worth every cent), I get blue grenadier ($6.50) and three calamari rings ($2).
Both are lightly battered.
The fish falls apart as I eat it, but I don’t mind. It’s rather delicate and beautifully cooked.
The rings, too, are tender and tasty.
John tells me his business is growing.
He’s in a good spot here – there’s not a lot around by way of good food, though Motorino and Famous Blue Raincoat are a few blocks away.
Still, he must balance what he’d like to do and what is best for the business in terms of satisfying customer demand.
He plans in the next few months, for instance, to start using real ham instead of the processed “pizza ham” variety.
And hooray for that!
But still, on John’s pizza lineup – split between about dozen each of “traditional” and “gourmet” – punters can choose Aussie-style pies heaving with the usual toppings .
Or they can single out more spare offerings in the Italian manner.
On a subsequent visit with Bennie and Che, for instance, Che’s small meat lovers ($9.50) has the aforementioned “pizza ham”, along with salami, chicken and bbq sauce.
It’s definitely Che’s go!
Bennie’s puttanesca ($10) is more continental in terms of its toppings but their quantity is Aussie-style all the way.
He nods with appreciation after a few bites but towards the end of his meal tires somewhat of the saltiness engendered by bacon, olives, capers and anchovies.
My own piccolo diavolo ($10) hits the spot and is – not surprisingly, given my own tastes – the leanest and meanest of our lot.
Hot salami, chilli, red onion, roasted red capsicum and chilli oil make for a light, tasty, spicy lunch.
We like John and his joint, and envy the locals for whom this is becoming a regular.