The ‘World Famous’ Mangonui fish shop is located on the water front at Mangonui, Doubtless Bay, in the North Island of New Zealand. The town has two distinct districts: the original historic town, then further around the bay, the residential area, mostly consisting of beach houses. The original town is well worth a detour off the main highway.
“In 1769, Capt. James Cook sailed past the entrance to the area and recorded in his journal “doubtless a bay”, hence the name. At the same time, the French ship St Jean Baptiste of François Marie de Surville was anchored within the bay. Each ship was unaware of the other.
Not long after, European traders, whalers, sealers and missionaries arrived here and Mangonui became a thriving port providing supplies, repairs and R & R for the many ships and their crews. Kauri trees grew in abundance and their trunks were sought-after for their length and diameter to serve as spars and masts.” More info here.
The town is picturesque and quaint, retaining many original weatherboard buildings from the early days. Coffee shops, waterfront pubs and other tourist facilities line the streets. The use of public space is generous, as are most public spaces in New Zealand, with boardwalks, grassy areas and seating along the waterfront. There is also a nearby Lions park set up for ‘freedom’ camping.
The fish shop perches on the water and is inviting, with alluring signs promising fresh seafood and fish cooked on the premises. The interior seating area is large, with a casual restaurant layout plus sea fronted high benches and open sided windows with plastic blinds. They also sell wine, beer and non alcoholic drinks.
We ordered two fish of the day,Tarakihi fish, and one serve of chips. The fish is indeed fresh, is battered and cooked to order. Sadly, the batter on our order was poorly executed. The batter, which was a tempura style mixture, didn’t stick to the fish, hence the fish became oily. It was necessary to tear off bits of fish as the batter fell off in pieces. The sizing was small. We were informed by the shop assistant that the average sized fillet weighed between 80 and 100 grams. The chips were tasty and well done, but few. One scoop cost $3.00.
Total cost for a packet of two freshly cooked fish of the day, with one serve of chips? $19.00. The lemon wedges are free.
The view is really outstanding but the prices are over inflated and the cooking is not up to scratch for a fish and chip shop. This place is probably set up for bus tours and large groups and so tourist prices apply. Perhaps next time I would ask for the snapper, paying a little more for a bigger piece and insist on the batter sticking in true fish and chip shop style!