When it comes to fish restaurants in this city, it’s hard to make a splash, but Saint Peter and its scale-to-tail ethos is different. Headed up by sustainable-seafood advocate Josh Niland, whose book The Whole Fish has become something of a bible for like-minded cooks, the sleek marble-bar restaurant, currently seating 14 people, feels like a performative masterclass with chefs on show shucking, filling, scaling, grilling and wasting very little. Here, lesser-known Australian species are celebrated, often wild-caught, and 90 per cent of the fish – eyeballs! guts! blood! – are put to use, in comparison to an average of less than 50 per cent in most seafood restaurants. Niland, who has worked with leading names in culinary innovation including Heston Blumenthal, has taken the blueprint of meaty techniques, such as nose-to-tail cooking and dry-ageing, and applied it to fruits of the sea in a number of new-to-the-industry, waste-saving ways. Delicate kingfish stomach is served in a saucy fish-heart and offal XO sauce; tartare-style yellowfin tuna is topped with a yolk; ’nduja-like mackerel is plated up on toast; and cured fat-belly swordfish comes as bacon. Nilan’s philosophy is to minimise waste and maximise taste, meaning bones could be ground into a powder and sauced, leftover cod fat used in chocolate slices and fish eyes dehydrated, fried and turned into crisps. A few doors down at the Fish Butchery, a high-spec, gallery-like fishmonger, he shows off his true moxie with a takeaway menu of sea-urchin crumpets, swordfish katsu and buttermilk-fried sandos. But it’s his transformation of classic surf staples, such as the firm-fleshed pink-ling fish and chips – a new take on his old boss Blumenthal’s recipe – battered in a holy trinity of vodka, honey and beer with a side of tangy yogurt tartar, that makes him truly the best seafood chef in Australia. By Chloe Sachdev

Address: Saint Peter, 362 Oxford Street, Paddington, New South Wales, Australia

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