According to the signature graffiti scribble at Tommy Ruff, “There’s plenty of fish in the sea”. So many, in fact, that the healthy fish and chip shop has just opened its third venture, spreading a love of beautiful fish and healthy sides to the people of Windsor.
After making a name for itself with its Elsternwick and Mordialloc stores, Tommy Ruff has branched further north to the foodie hub of Chapel Street, and shows no sign of slowing down. With the tagline of ‘nautical but nice’, it’s celebrating the very best in local seafood, and the endless possibilities when it comes to delicious accompaniments.
Owner John Stamoulis is one in a long-line of seafood-loving Greek men. His father, Ippocrates, grew up on the island of Samos, living and breathing all things ocean. Upon migrating to Australia, he worked at a mussel farm, before deciding to move behind the counter at fish and chip shop. He took over the Blue Dolphin Fish Cafe in South Melbourne, which later became Clarendons Fish and Chippers.
It was at this point that John and his wife, Helen, decided to follow his father’s footsteps. They established a number of modern fish and chip stores around the south-east of Melbourne, before eventually opening Tommy Ruff.
The ‘one for all’ menu is ideal for sharing, with ceviche, salt and pepper calamari and teriyaki salmon skewers amongst the extensive list. Opt for one of ‘Tommy’s saucy grills’ covered in the likes of Spanish or Asian flavours, or grab one of Tommy’s fish with your choice of sides. Sweet potato chips, onion rings and potato cakes are sure favourites, but there are also super salads or a bowl of vegetables for those looking to keep things super-healthy.
If your appetite warrants more than a piece of fish, grab one of Tommy’s buns. The crab claw burger is overflowing with soft shell crab, slaw, coriander and Tommy’s secret sauce; while the salmon burger combines dill crème fraiche with rocket and tomato. If you’re not into fish, there are two meaty burgers and even a veggie option, with basil pesto, salad and sweet chilli sauce.
If you’re prone to food envy, it’s best to order the chef’s platter. Brimming with fish tacos, oysters, grilled fish, prawn skewers, calamari, fish wings and chips, it will ensure you get a taste of everything.
To top it all off, the team at Tommy Ruff have developed their own range of wine, craft beer and ciders to complement your order. With nautical names such as Scully Way Pinot Gris, Marlborough White Pearl Chardonnay, Kraken and Whale draught beer and Kiss of the Mermaid peal cider, they’re the perfect addition to your fishy fare.
When your culinary offering is as considered as Tommy Ruff’s, there’s no doubting the design is too. The open space, designed by Studio Equator, combines a blue pastel colour palette with oak wood furnishings and plenty of themed quirks. A giant neon skull greets customers at the door, and fishing nets and ropes hang from the walls. Light bulbs dangle like bait from fishing rods and giant fish water jugs spurt your drink from their mouths.
Tommy Ruff does fish differently. Operating on an ethos of transparency and with the customer in mind, it’s changing the face of fish and chip shops, one store at a time.