What is the freshest fish today?
This one comes up on a daily basis, and the answer is slightly more complicated than it might seem on face value.
At Richmond Oysters we fillet all of our own fish on premises, purchasing whole stock direct from wholesale suppliers including the Melbourne Seafood Centre as well as maintaing direct relationships with farms in Tasmania and other areas across the country.
As such, the time can vary considerably between the fish being caught, taken to market, sold at market, delivered to us, stored by us, filleted by us, sold by us and taken home by you. It is highly unlikely you’ll often buy fish that was caught that day! Furthermore, if the fish is handled properly from the moment it is caught it can be in a much better state nearly a week later than one that is improperly handled but caught yesterday.
We recommend you look for tell-tale signs in the window on the day: check the eyes of the whole fish and avoid cloudiness, look for vibrancy in the hue/colour of the flesh of the fillets and avoid soggy looking textures.
Once you take it home, we don’t recommend that you keep fish for more than 24-36hrs in your fridge. This is because the typical household fridge is opened constantly throughout the day, allowing temperature variations up into the double digits which don’t effectively combat bacterial growth. Remember, we are open 7 days a week from 7am, so you’re better off leaving produce in our temperature controlled cool rooms.
Alternatively, you can always freeze down the fresh stock you purchase of us as required.
What is a good, firm, white fish for a curry/taco/chowder?
We typically jump to one of our favourites as soon as we hear this one. Rockling is the perfect fish for tacos, holding together nicely when diced up and taking on flavours well. Blue-eye is another staff favourite, being a firm fleshed fish that has a pleasing inherent sweetness providing a rounded flavour profile and easily enhances the flavours in your curry or chowder.
How much fish do I need for 'x' people?
This is a question that is unique to every individual! But we recommend that you work off 200-250g per person. We use ~220g servings in most of our restaurant dishes.
When were these oysters shucked?
Between our restaurant, our retail and our wholesale operations, we shuck and sell several pallets of live oysters each and every week. Opening around 18,000 dozen oysters a month, our shuckers operate 6 or 7 days a week throughout the year. They open oysters in the early hours of the morning right through to the early afternoon in summer. A very efficient shucker can open as many as 300 dozen oysters on their shift.
We take great pride in our oysters, and you’ll never have oysters that are more than a day old from our retail window. But as we are open for 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is inevitable that sometimes you will be buying oysters that were opened as much as 12-24 hours ago.
Don’t let that worry you though, as we keep all our stock in temperature and climate controlled fridges at slightly above 0 degrees. Your oysters are in the best possible hands with us, and should be enjoyed immensely once they get home with you.
What is the difference between the oysters?
PACIFIC OYSTERS: From South Australia and Tasmania, these oysters are typically slightly larger with more ragged, deep shells. They have high salinity and taste freshly of the ocean.
SYDNEY ROCK OYSTERS: From New South Wales, these oysters are typically slightly smaller with a yellow/creamy tinge. They have a more earthy flavour complexion, and higher minerality.
NATIVE FLAT OYSTERS: Generally from Victoria, these oysters are typically larger and flatter of shell, having a bold, rich flavour with an intense mineral finish.
Are the prawns local/fresh/peeled?
Prawns are almost always freshly thawed. That is, FROZEN. This is simply a logistical necessity for maintaining quality of product year round. The local prawn season is very short in Victoria, and the quality of product highly variable. The majority of wild caught prawns are frozen at sea, or immediately upon returning to land. Farmed prawns (such as those from QLD) are snap frozen immediately after being cooked (or raw). This process results in an unbelievably consistent, quality product available 365 days a year!
We sell Australian (local) prawns that come mostly from QLD, or are caught in ‘Australian water’. Hence, the definition of local is sufficient to assure you of quality, but the tyranny of distance means that from a transport and logistics perspective, almost all prawns bought here in Melbourne will be arriving frozen. As an aside, we also sell frozen imported prawns from South East Asian countries.
Our local prawns come in whole (the XL-Tiger Prawns). We sell them at whole weight. However, we will happily peel them for you. The peeled price reflects the labour involved in peeling the whole prawns for you. We also carry raw, local, peeled prawn cutlets. These come in frozen 1kg bags, and can be bought at random weight. The prawns are wild caught in Australian waters, but peeled in China.
My wife is pregnant, what have you got that is low in mercury/not deep sea?
We stock a wide range of fish (15-20 different lines a day), so can always accommodate you in this regard. Ask our staff on the day about what is the best available. Generally though, you will be wanting something that is caught out of the bay like snapper, whiting and flathead!
What have you got that is wild caught?
In short, everything except the one you are statistically most likely to buy! The only farmed fish we stock, generally, are salmon, trout and barramundi. And even barramundi comes in wild several months a year!
Can we book a table at 7.30pm on Friday/Saturday night?
Sorry to be so abrupt about it! But the short answer is, on Friday and Saturday nights we sit as many as 200 people in our restaurant in consecutive sittings. Our mission is to provide premium quality seafood for the enjoyment of all: and by all we mean as many people as we can possibly reach out to!
This means that on traditionally busy services, like your Friday & Saturday nights, we operate within defined service sittings. This also applies on special occasion days like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentines Day and other days that fall around important public holidays and festive periods. The rest of the week you are generally welcome to come at the time that best suits you!
*For your information, our sittings on Friday & Saturday nights are 2 hours with a 6pm start and 8.15pm start. Sometimes you can squeeze a spot on the bar or footpath tables at different times, and walk ins are always warmly welcomed if tables free up early.
Can I have more tartare please?
If you’re polite we’re accommodating! We will happily provide you with additional sauces and lemons at no extra charge. Please grab our attention and we’ll deliver it promptly!
I don't like mussels/calamari/bugs/sashimi/etc. Can I swap it for whitebait/scallops/oysters/lobster?
We often get asked questions like this in relation to our seafood platters and other sharing dishes. The short answer is YES*… we’ll happily build you the platter that will make your evening the most memorable affair you can imagine!
*However we cannot always swap product for product in the same price structure. Unfortunately, mussels and lobster cannot be substituted without a modest price alteration. But we can chat about that with you on a case by case basis. Please feel free to talk to our wait staff about customising your meal to the nth degree!
It's my friends birthday, can you...
Embarrass them? YES
Sing them happy birthday? YES
Provide a dessert with a candle in it? YES
Provide a dancing leprechaun with a horn and get the whole restaurant to clap three cheers? Possibly not, but it never hurts to ask!
What fish comes on the platter?
Our house seafood platters come with grilled and baked fish. This changes not only day-to-day but from platter-to-platter! We have a retail display window containing 15-20 different lines of fish on any given day. And as we portion up random weights for retail customers or cut fillets for the restaurant we end up with a variety of smaller portions.
On our platters, we use portions that are between 100-150g. You will get at least three different types of fish on the Seafood Platter, and as many as four. They can range from popular lines like salmon and flathead, through to exotic lines like king george whiting and red emperor! On our Deluxe Seafood Platter you get a whole baked fish, which is often a whole baby snapper, but can be anything from barramundi to flathead or rainbow trout depending on what’s available.
It is possible to make requests about the fish, but just remember that the variety is provided as part of our stock management. We won’t cut a fillet for the platter especially, unless it is an additional fillet weighted and charged as accordingly. You can always ask us what whole fish we have in stock for the Deluxe, and request your favourite!
What is the sweetest/driest wine?
Please ask our friendly staff in store about their favourite wines by the glass, or which bottle will best suit your palate. They will be ready to help you, or bring over one of our wine enthused fishmongers to discuss your needs!
How many oysters are on the platter?
We typically build our platters to serve even numbers of people. So at the current point in time (29/11/14) our Seafood Platter is designed for two people and has 6 oysters on it. Our Deluxe Seafood Platter is designed for four people (though five can do it!) and has 8 oysters on it.
If you love oysters, we often recommend adding more to the platter, which can be served natural or hot!
Can you do gluten free/lactose free/nut free meals etc?
We have an extensive range of fresh produce in store that can be cooked simply and without any added ingredients, so we can cater for almost all allergies. Please just ask us and discuss your particular needs.
Also, please be forward with how receptive you are to the allergy: many people with gluten allergies still eat chips, but this involves cross contamination in our fries with oil that has been used to batter fish. For others, this can be deadly.
My partner/friend/relative does not eat seafood/is a vegetarian/is a vegan, what can you do?
We are, obviously, a seafood oriented establishment. Our mission is to provide premium quality seafood for the enjoyment of all! However, we don’t want you to think you can’t bring your friends or family here because one doesn’t or can’t eat seafood.
Our steak options are some of the best quality cuts of meat that are on offer in Melbourne. The Hopkins River eye fillet, and our rib-eye, are generous portions served with hearty chips and salad. Nobody is ever disappointed with one of these: in fact, we get tables in just to eat our steak!
Vegetarians and vegans are slightly more complicated, but we can generally work something out. We have some very popular salads, and make a lovely vegetarian risotto with pumpkin, spinach and pine nuts. We have also, when provided enough notice, been able to accommodate vegan diets. Generally speaking, just be in touch with us in advance and we will do our best to make your night as memorable for your friends as it will be for you!
How long has this place been here?
We started trading in 1959 as a wholesale and direct to public retailer of premium and fresh seafood products. The restaurant opened in 2006 and has continued to grow the business in new and exciting areas. You can read more about our history here, or check out our blog.
Have you got room for 'x'?
If your magic number is 2 and you are happy to dine at the bar then the answer is most probably YES!
However, we generally do whatever we can to accommodate walk in customers. You might get a table for an hour, or have to wait an hour for a table. We might offer you a drink (or a seafood platter!) at the bar, or you might go to a bar for a couple rounds whilst you wait for us to call you back. Sometimes we simply can’t do it, but we’ll try our darndest to work something out! (Just don’t come in with 15pax at 7.30pm on a Saturday!).
Is Josh working today/tonight?
Many of you know and love our main guy, Restaurant Manager Josh Morelli. However, he really is not just a walking talking fishmonger come geophysicist come wine guru come general all round top bloke! He does sleep occasionally, and even takes his girlfriend out for dinner at other restaurants from time to time!
You’ll see him at the shop more often than not, but rest assured he’s built a strong, likeminded team around him, so we know you’ll love your experience any day of the week!
Is the bread Helga's?
Ok, so maybe nobody really asked this particular question (except one of our ‘funny guy’ bartenders!). However, like they said in school, the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. Our team is here to help you. If you don’t know, ask us! And if we don’t know we’ll find out for you as quickly as possible!