When was the last time you had Australian-style fish and chips without leaving the country?
Yeah, I had never tried it either. But boy, am I glad I did, and you can be, too (while avoiding the 14-hour plane ride).
Salty Blue on 601 S. 3rd St. in downtown Renton offers owner Xenos Nair’s version of the Australian-style breaded fish that he has grown to love from his visits with his family in Australia.
The restaurant offers several varieties of traditional Aussie fish including Australian Barramundi sea bass, New Zealand hoki, shrimp, calamari and locally sourced halibut. These options come either grilled or fried in a light, crispy batter.
Salty Blue also offers fish tacos and a variety of brioche bun sandwiches, like the chicken schnitzel or shrimp burger.
For my first visit, I elected to try the house fish and chips with New Zealand hoki and a cup of the clam chowder.
The chowder was unique because it had less thick texture than most traditional chowders, it also included aromatic herbs and spices that gave the chowder a red-tinge and a smoky subtle spice to it. It also, impressively, had some of the largest chunks of clam I have ever enjoyed in a chowder.
When the fish and chips arrived in front of me, it looked like one of the prettiest baskets of fried food that I have ever seen.
The fish had a perfect light and crispy battered crust and flaky salt was sprinkled across its back in a tantalizing way. The fries were a chunky, more rustic cut and double-cooked to hone in the deliciously crispy edges while also keeping a tender and fluffy potato bite.
The fish came with a lemon wedge that, when spritzed on the piece of fish, created an inviting aroma. It came with a smoky, tangy, and subtly spicy aioli as well as a house-made tartar sauce.
I typically do not prefer tartar sauce, but on this day I realized it was because I had never found a good one. Salty Blue house tartar sauce was herbaceous, containing dill and other herbs that gave it a sense of freshness that I found unmatched to any tartar sauce that I have tried.
The fish was tender and flaky whitefish, fried to perfection and served with care and thought.
Salty Blue in downtown Renton is an absolute treasure for those in the downtown Renton area, and if you aren’t in town, it is well worth the trip.