Around-Oz: Living the Dream!

Saltmine Fish and Chips - Soldiers Point - NSW


Saltmines is situated at the southern end of the main drag heading from Nelson’s Bay on the Central Coast of NSW a few hours north of Sydney. Parking is relatively easy with ample areas on the street, but watch out for the odd overhanging tree. Now that’s the good bit.

The initial reaction from the junior staff members was friendly, but when I asked which fish was boneless, the reaction from a more senior person who was battering the fish was like, how dare you! Then to add insult to injury, I asked for our fish to be crumbed, only to be advised, that was 60 cents per piece extra - and obviously the batterer had already battered our order as I was verbally giving it. There was a choice of four fish types ranging from $5.00 to $6.20. All up a quite expensive lunch at $19.80.

No one out the front at lunchtime on a Saturday could be a bad sin?
Great logo in the window

Anyway, we were the third in line - not very busy for a Saturday lunchtime and after a reasonably quick time, number 44 was called out. After paying, I walked straight across the pedestrian crossing and about 10 metres to where we were parked. A photograph (the one below!) later we were sitting down to eat right beside the water. Rex’s fish cocktails (yes he has to have a fish lunch when we have fish!) were quite good in size and no, I didn’t ask for them to be crumbed - at 60 cents added to the $1 for a fish cocktail, Rex can have them as they come! Bob’s Chico Roll was only luke warm - obviously they didn’t put it in early to cook - as these come frozen, they do take a little more time than a piece of crumbed fish to cook.

The "batterer" at work!
Only  one tiny piece of lemon was provided

The dory was very moist and quite nice. The chips were a bit of a worry though - there were quite a few ends on which you could see green! Now green on potatoes is a giant no no if you want to avoid tummy troubles - and not even Rex would eat these with the ends cut off. The chips were not crisp and obviously slightly undercooked with the temperature set far toooooo low. (Bob spent seven years cooking chips!)

So you can sense we were not overly impressed - and maybe in Queensland we are spoilt, but at $5.80 each for the dory , $2 for undercooked chips and an extra 60 cents per piece for crumbing, this was not one of our more pleasant or value for money lunches. Oh yes - one very skinny slice of lemon between two people was the crowning glory! We definitely wont be back! Bit of a shame that as the Soldiers Point Caravan Park is one of the best in the area with absolutely wonderful caring staff. We booked in there straight after lunch. Now if you are staying in the Port Stephens area and MUST have a fish and chips "fix" you can't go past Aussie Bobs at Shoal Bay just back up the road a ways!

We don’t think Saltmines really rates as Best-in-Oz material, but based on this taste test, we would recommend you give this a big miss if you consider yourself a seafood connoisseur!

Bob & Chrissy Eustace

Hema 23 E11

Note: If you disagree or agree with our verdict, you are more than welcome to email us with your experiences and we will publish them on this page. We would particularly like to be advised if management changes hands, so we can perhaps take another look, as this business could really be a winner in such a delightful location.



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Last updated: January 17, 2008
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