Elevated fish and chips arrive in East Maitland
When you’re 36 weeks pregnant with your first child, starting a restaurant renovation is probably the last thing on your to-do list.
Not for Tory Clancy. Now two and a half years later – the aforementioned child is a toddler – Tory and husband Brent Cleary have opened Salt, Chilli and Lime, the fanciest fish and chip shop in East Maitland.
‘Fish and chip shop’ might be a misnomer – when there’s a Slipper Lobster Roll and Baja Flathead Fish Tacos on the menu, you get the sense that this is a tad more sophisticated than your average local takeaway.
Tory, who runs the front-of-house, did initially want Salt, Chilli and Lime to operate solely as a takeaway joint.
“We started out as a takeaway. It was going to be a fish and chip shop, and then the dynamic changed, and I thought we could do a bar,” she said.
After getting architects involved and fitting out the space, Salt, Chilli and Lime has morphed into a restaurant and bar, although it certainly retains the heart of a classic fish and chip shop.
Think hefty portions, plenty of fried, battered food, and the best part – old-school, thick-cut, skin-on chips. Tory tells me the restaurant has gone through 450 kilos of potatoes in just four weeks after opening.
The menu sports plenty of salt, chilli and lime, with these flavours representative of cuisines like Mexican and Italian which have influenced Brent in the kitchen.
While there’s plenty of fried food on the menu – an ode to the greasy goodness found in Aussie fish and chip shops – it’s balanced with fresh options, like Sydney Rock Oysters with a lemon and shallot mignonette, Pineapple, Mint and Cashew Salad, and Fresh Prawns with shredded lettuce, lemon, and cocktail sauce. It’s all prepared with ingredients that are as fresh and local as possible, sourced from suppliers like Nebo Farm in East Maitland and Monin Seafoods in Tuncurry.
Regardless of the food you order, the cocktail menu is an ideal accompaniment – expect classics like an Aperol Spritz, a French Martini or a Spicy Margarita to wash down all that seafood. There’s also a limited wine and beer selection, if that’s more your thing.
Tory and Brent aimed to fill a gap in the Maitland area with Salt, Chilli and Lime – a venue that wasn’t a coffee shop, pub, or fine dining establishment. If the reception so far is anything to go by, it seems they’ve been successful.
“The support from the locals, and even people all the way from Barnsley and Avoca, has been fantastic. We’ve had people hear about us all the way down the coast. We’ve had heaps of people come and check us out. It’s been really good,” she said.
With the momentum behind Salt, Chilli and Lime, Tory is keen to open up another space when the opportunity arises. But she stresses that there’ll be no more children or massive renovation jobs in her future, regardless of what comes next.