Chef's Recipes

Saint Peter's fish and chips

"It's so important at Saint Peter that the fish and chips gets put on a pedestal as a dish of importance and luxury," says Josh Niland.

By Josh & Julie Niland
  • Serves 4 - 6
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking plus soaking, drying

"There are few other dishes that come with so much expectation and nostalgia. It's so important at Saint Peter that the fish and chips gets put on a pedestal as a dish of importance and luxury," says Josh Niland. "Gone are the days of having wishy-washy defrosted white fish in limp pale batter and frozen chips. The key to fantastic fish and chips is obviously a great fish that's suited to coating in a batter and deep-frying. Fresh pink ling is a perfect fish for battering - it's robust, has a dense compact flesh with little sinew, good amount of fat, sweet-tasting flesh, few pin bones and can be readily found. The batter is also hugely important. Having worked with Heston Blumenthal as a stagiaire, I got to see his fish and chips and was blown away by the logic of using vodka in a batter. It makes sense - more alcohol content means it burns away faster, resulting in a very crisp and delicious batter. Fish and chips would be incomplete without a good tartare sauce; our tartare, made with yoghurt instead of mayonnaise, is a much cleaner, lighter sauce." Start this recipe a day ahead to soak the chips.


  • 600gm pink ling fillet, cut into 7cm x 3cm pieces, drained on paper towels
  • Rice flour, for dusting
  • Dill pickles and lemon cheeks, to serve
Potato chips
  • 1.5kg sebago potatoes, scrubbed, skin on, cut into 1cm-thick chips, soaked overnight in cold water, drained
  • Cottonseed oil, for deep-frying
Yoghurt tartare sauce
  • 300gm natural yoghurt
  • 2 large golden shallots, finely chopped
  • 80 gm cornichons, finely chopped
  • 80 gm drained tiny capers in brine, finely chopped
  • 200gm rice flour
  • 105gm self-raising flour
  • 5gm baking powder (1 tsp)
  • 170ml vodka (preferably with 37% alcohol)
  • 20gm honey
  • 275 ml beer (Josh Niland uses VB)


  • 1
    For potato chips, heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 140C. Pat the chips dry in a tea towel and deep-fry in batches without colouring until they blister and small bubbles appear on the surface (9-10 minutes). Drain, place on a wire rack over a tray and refrigerate to dry (1-2 hours).
  • 2
    For yoghurt tartare sauce, combine ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate covered until serving.
  • 3
    For batter, combine flours and baking powder in a large bowl. In a jug, whisk vodka and honey together, then add to flours along with beer and whisk until the batter has the consistency of heavy cream. If it becomes too thick add a little more beer.
  • 4
    Preheat oven to 120C and heat oil to 180C. Deep-fry chips in batches until very crisp and golden (5-6 minutes; be careful, hot oil may spit). Drain on paper towels and season with fine table salt. Place in oven on an oven tray lined with baking paper while you fry the fish.
  • 5
    Dust fish lightly in rice flour, shake off excess and coat in batter. Fry fish in the oil in batches until golden brown (2-3 minutes; you may need to turn fish over midway so it colours evenly). Drain on paper towels and season. Serve fish and chips with yoghurt tartare, pickles and lemons.


Drink Suggestion: Steam Ale from Victoria. Drink suggestion by Wimmy Winkler

  • Author: Josh & Julie Niland