I'm not terribly fussed about Doyle's the restaurant. I had a really, really bad meal there several years ago consisting of a boring piece of fish and the lumpiest, driest mashed potatoes I could imagine and from my distant memory I can recall some very soggy vegetables and a pretty big bill so I've never really wanted to venture back. One thing that I do go back for consistently is the Doyle's Fisherman's Wharf seafood takeaway, specifically the seafood basket. For $16.50 there's enough freshly fried seafood for two people and it's not just fish but also prawns, scallops and calamari. We were lent a convertible car this one particular weekend and we thought what would be the best use of it on these seemingly few and far between sunny summer days. Watsons Bay and the scenic drive seemed the right order.
We find a park right next to the usually frantically crowded Doyle's which means that the food gods are looking after us. The stretch of grass in front is full with tourists and people enjoying the sunny day and eating their takeaway. I line up as I need little time to decide - of course we are having the seafood basket. There is a rather unfriendly grumpy man behind the counter who seems intent on being rude to everyone in sight. Unfortunate but seeing as he stands between me and the seafood basket I place my order with him. Our seafood basket, a large tray with definitely enough for two emerges a few minutes later. Instead of sitting picnic style on the lawn, we opt for the large tabled area to the right and back of the takeaway.
Opening up our golden fried seafood bounty we see that they still don't provide tartare sauce, but a sweet chili instead. Why oh why can't they give us tartare? We start with the king prawns which are quite juicy with a light coating of crumbing (Prawn count in box=3). The scallops with the roe on are next, and they're soft and fresh and lovely and thick (Scallop count=2). Bliss. To add to the rapture, calamari, which can be tough and chewy is melt in the mouth (Calamari ring count=5). I don't think I've had better calamari. My husband, not usually a calamari lover declares these the best. So I'm looking forward to the big pieces of fish (Fish count=3 pieces).
Unfortunately whatever magic they weaved for the rest is lost on the fish. Even with copious amounts of lemon squeezed from the one piece and salt from the extra sachets, it's flavourless. I try and try again but give up. It's devoid of flavour and I leave my hungry husband to have the rest. The chips are fat chunky traditional cut chips and they're quite good, with a few twice fried chips at the bottom of the box which I have a perverse joy in eating.
We lean back full and watch the crowds board the ferry in front of us.
Doyle's Takeaway Watsons Bay
11 Marine Parade Watsons Bay Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9337-1350
Open 7 days until sundown