In February, following their success in the suburbs of Elsternwick and Mordialloc, John and Helen Stamoulis opened their third Tommy Ruff Fish Bar in Windsor. Located on Chapel street, the newest Tommy Ruff joint is a bright and relaxing addition to one of the busiest hospitality precincts in Melbourne.
Despite its overall physically narrow structure, the interior of the third Tommy Ruff venue feels very open, due to Studio Equator’s clever use of a light pastel colour palette, warm oak-wood furnishings, and numerous skylights. However, with colourful ceramic fish shaped water jugs lining the main bar, light bulbs dangling from fishing rods, and quirky ocean themed murals, the interior space still has the unique Tommy Ruff look that many are familiar with. And like any modern Melbourne food institute, the venue is also neatly sprinkled with colourful eye-catching neon signs such as the tiny pink lobster mounted next to the cash register.
When it comes to food, Tommy Ruff has a little something for everyone. Besides the classic battered fish and chips, visitors can also enjoy other oceanic delights such as a light but filling bowl of Hawaiian poké ($17.50) with pickled ginger and crispy corn chips, a choice of seven different burgers, fish ceviche ($18) and more.
If you’re anything like us and feel the sudden overwhelming desire to devour everything on the menu (knowing full well it’s an impossible feat), Tommy Ruff also offer two different tasting platters featuring a little bit of everything. On our visit, we ordered the “Chef’s Platter for 2+” ($72) which includes; two mini fish tacos, salt and pepper calamari, garlic prawn skewer, sweet chili prawn skewer, marinated scallops, two different grilled fish fillets, oysters, fish wings, and a side of white or sweet potato chips. It’s everything you and a friend need to satisfy your seafood cravings.
Everything on the platter was cooked and seasoned to perfection. The grilled salmon topped with sweet chilli jam and a sprinkling of fresh oregano was just how it should be, tender and moist. The soft fish tacos, made with battered flake served on a bed of fresh Mexican salsa, paired wonderfully well with Tommy’s very own aromatic and crisp “Davy Jones’ Locker” strawberry cider ($9). For us, the two definite highlights of the “Chef’s Platter for 2+” were the freshly shucked Tasmanian oysters which were cool and briny, and the perfectly tender salt and pepper calamari.
As for drinks, Tommy Ruff is a fully licensed venue serving a rotating shortlist of refreshing cocktails, as well as a good variety of red, white, and sparkling wine, beer, and cider.
Feature image supplied and credited to Hayley Benoit. All other photos were taken by Zaya Altangerel for the AU Review.