date of visit: Wednesday 24 July 2013
Almost four years since our last (blogged) visit to Paul’s. Andy loves this place and, in amongst the many many Asian eateries on Gouger Street, Paul’s is a blast of fresh sea air.
Paul’s is not a flashy, first date kind of venue. From the street, it looks like a fish and chip shop and that really is what it is. The fryer sits at the front of the shop, with a fridge of fish in front of it. Tables and chairs are basic and there is a tiny bar at the back, from behind which comes not only drinks but plates stacked with the basic salad, ready to be filled with fried, battered, crumbed or grilled seafood.
If you’re not in the mood for seafood, you don’t go to Paul’s: pretty much the only non piscine option is the garlic bread. The laminated menu lists the fish you can have (snapper, barramundi … you know the drill) and a basic specials menu might list things like salt and pepper soft shell crab or grilled moreton bay bugs.
Service is swift, making Paul’s an ideal venue for those with small people in tow (oh wait! that’s us!) or with somewhere else to be. We arrived around a quarter past five and while the restaurant wasn’t technically open yet, we were able to sit down, scan the menu and feed the toddler sultanas.
For the toddler, we chose the entrée portion of whitebait, while I had the salt and pepper squid (main portion, but I really could have done with the small option) and Andy had the soft shell crab. The whitebait came with some lettuce while the main courses came with lettuce, tomato and cucumber as well as Paul’s hand cut wedges.
I really like that the food is basic. The salt and pepper squid, at $20 a portion, tears strips off that which you’ll find similarly priced in a pub. I also much prefer the simple salad which is obviously crisp and fresh and NOT drowned in dressing. And the wedges are better too. Given that Andy always orders the soft shell crab when it’s on the menu, that must be good too. And the toddler rated the whitebait highly.
Service is relaxed and casual but efficient. Last night we were in the fortunate position of finishing our food before the toddler had finished his. The waitress cleared Andy’s plate, asking him if he had finished first. The toddler, clearly concerned that his little fish were about to disappear wailed “I not finished eating!” as she disappeared. Rest assured, the staff at Paul’s won’t allow your food to disappear …
For the three of us (food, a Boags and a glass of Skillogalee Riesling), after our Entertainment Book discount, the bill came to $55. A cheap, cheerful and tasty night out.