Rosie's Proper Fish + Chips

Karen Lateo
13th Jan 2024

Stop and smell the Rosie's

The scent of sizzling chips wafts down Lawrence Hargrave Drive, luring hungry locals to Rosie's, the brand new Coledale fish and chipper that's taken the northern Illawarra by storm.

Chef Ben Sinfield and Tania Ho, of my Sydney fave Banh Xeo Bar, opened Rosie's on Wednesday. The place got slammed! Punters descended like hungry locusts and cleaned them out, calling for a day's closure and regroup.

The place was humming with slick efficiency come lunchtime Friday, with Ben at the pass, Tania meet-and-greeting, and a team of local kids getting their big hospo break. I missed a visit by the titular Rosie - Ben and Tania's toddler daughter - so may have to return for a serve of kiddie cuteness.

Ben, a veteran of London's legendary restaurant St John has made it his mission to cook "proper" fish and chips. Potatoes from The Gourmet Potato are hand-cut and triple-cooked in oil, or for an old-school option, grass-fed beef tallow. The crisp, chunky chips have a subtle hint of beefy goodness - worth the 45-minute drive from Kiama alone.

And the fish? No frozen, generic slabs of imported piscatorial sadness here. Ben's using only the local, freshest and best from supplier Harley & John Seafood - on my visit it was pink ling from Ulladulla, having ploughed through the stock of gurnard and snapper.

Fish is offered grilled, but pfft! Nothing beats good fish cloaked in crunchy, golden beer batter. The ling was white, flaky perfection.

A cracking tartare sauce is a default accompaniment, but I added Ben's classic British curry sauce for chippie dipping. Hmmm. Tasty, but it might be a better match with a battered sausage. Next visit!

The menu is simple, ticking all the boxes. Plans are in the works for lobster rolls - ironically for me, the lobby will probably come from Kiama!

Note to visitors: there's no seating. It's takeaway only. That means sitting in dappled sunlight on a Coledale Beach bench, unwrapping the butcher's paper to expose the golden feast, inhaling that steaming scent - ah, life doesn't get much better!

Congratulations Ben and Tania. You've given your Illawarra neighbourhood a gem of an eatery. Little Rosie will be proud.