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Catch of Braddon hitting our shores next week

Emma Macdonald and Tim Bean

Canberra may be inland, but even the seagulls are excited about Catch.

Set to open early next week, Catch is the much-anticipated seafood hotspot of Lonsdale Street Braddon.

The brainchild of hospitality entrepreneur Socrates Kochinos and a team including Frank Kochinos, Sachuda Reddy and Nick Tuckwell, Catch has taken two years of planning and six months of frenetic work.

The restaurant is iconically 1970s Australian coastal in design with a heady dose of corner takeaway shop chic.

No detail has been left to chance by the creative team behind some of Canberra most successful eateries with Soc having set up Belluci’s, Public and Urban Pantry.

Who else would scour suppliers in order to hang a plastic door fringe at the threshold of the eatery in just the right shades of blue and white – taking many of us back to our childhoods and possibly confounding the millennials (FYI they were popular household accessories in the 1960s and 70s which were hung over doorways to keep flies out).

The inside of the restaurant is clean polished concrete, white tiles, and stainless-steel. It feels very much like a fish market. The cobalt-blue weatherboard cladding on the exterior, meanwhile, is more beach-house.

There’s seating for around 100 both inside and out in the expansive shaded courtyard which holds a row of curved fibreglass tables shaded by yellow and white umbrellas.

Whatever your preference, most will be interested in the food.

The team want Catch to be synonymous with fresh and sustainable seafood. They will take delivery of a range of products from the South Coast and Sydney Fish Markets daily, and customers can either order off the menu and eat there, or grab something fresh to cook at home.

A timber sash window will open each day at the ‘Takeaway’ end to allow people to grab food to go.

This will include bagged and marinated fresh fish daily, although this option is not yet on the menu. Oysters on ice will stand in giant blue buckets at the counter. The same goes for the prawns, which you can buy by weight and take home.

But for those who want the Catch experience, sit down at one of the slatted wooden tables inside or a blue stool at a window bench and order up big.

Start with a prawn cocktail, using the deliciously tangy house-made cocktail sauce. Move on to a bug roll – tempura-battered Moreton Bay Bug with shredded iceberg and sriracha mayo.

Love poké? Catch has you covered with salmon, kingfish and tuna options, while those who want to simply enjoy the oysters can go natural, mignonette, or Kilpatrick.

Three salads—a classic Greek, Asian slaw and quinoa tabouli provide a United Nations of choice, while a variety of “Catch Packs” include combinations of battered, crumbed or grilled fish, calamari and prawns to ensure everyone gets enough of what they love.

But here’s what we love. Potato scallops—perfectly battered and fried in oil so fresh that there is absolutely no greasy feel. You could almost convince yourself they were healthy.

All of this is enhanced by the prospect of quaffing a glass of prosecco, or a specially brewed Capital Brewing Co, “Coast Ale”, with several alcohol options available

True to Soc’s nostalgia for his own childhood running around his parent’s takeaway shop in Melba, the menu is fully old-school. Dim Sims, Chiko rolls, corn jacks, pineapple fritters, and fish cocktails will take equal space among the more on-trend seafood options.

“It’s what I loved as a kid and what I want to bring back,” says Soc. “This place is as much about evoking a feel of the ocean and of seafood and summer in the 70s as it is about providing a buzz.”

The team want to appeal to all age groups, and to create new seaside associations even in this inland city.

“Part of the Catch mission is to end the complaint that Canberra doesn’t do good seafood.”

It appears that even before the doors have opened, the seagulls are in on the secret. And because the team has thought of everything, replica wooden seagulls have been ordered to be placed around the outdoor tables.

For it just wouldn’t be legit if you ate fish and chips without keeping an eye out for greedy birds ready to strike.

the essentials

What: Catch
Where: Catch is located on the corner of Eloura and Lonsdale Streets in Braddon facing onto Canberra’s rainbow roundabout.
Open: 7 days 11am until late
Contact: 62472636
Website: catchfishandchips.com.au

Images by Tim Bean Photography.

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Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism – including a Walkley or two – along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials.

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Tim Bean

A fire fighter by day (and night), Tim also loves being behind the lens to capture all things food, people and places. You can often find Tim drinking coffee at his local or capturing a time lapse on Anzac Parade!

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