Good for you, good for me, good for the sea: this is Swampdog’s mantra. It could easily be mistaken for a trendy catch cry, and their website misconstrued as paying mere lip service to things like overfishing, habitat degradation and large bycatch. However Swampdog’s eco-consciousness is not a passing affectation – it seems to permeate every aspect of their business.
The fish they serve is local, their aquaculture products are mindfully chosen, they don’t source from wild fisheries considered to be overfished and they choose only sustainable seafood (as listed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society or the Australian Conservation Foundation) obtained using sustainable methods.
In fact, so committed is chef Richard Webb to the Swampdog mission, that he makes the nearly unheard of decision to omit snapper from the everyday menu. Instead you will find local Moreton Bay mullet (the cheapest option at $10.90 with chips), local whiting, local mackerel and Far North Queensland farmed barramundi – crumbed, battered or grilled. Then of course there’s the fish of the day, often of a kind that you simply aren’t going to get at other fish and chip shops.
Swampdog’s atypical selection of seafood is brought to life through a considered and varied range of dishes. In addition to the standard fish and chip shop treatments, are meals like the tempura whiting with ginger prawn mousse and Asian salad ($14.90) and grilled sardines with pesto on sourdough ($12.90). Though, the traditionalist needn’t fret, you can also get the fried dinner pack, made up of crumbed fish bites, crumbed calamari, popcorn prawns and chips ($16.90).
Their food packaging is recycled and biodegradable, and quite stylish. The tables constructed of old doors (with the knob still affixed) on legs help tie the simple fitout together.
They even have a blog. Restaurant blogs may not be your thing, but Swampdog’s effort is informative and charming. In all respects, Swampdog wears its heart felt enthusiasm for all things fish-related on its sleeve.