When a few savvy locals with truckloads of experience and a distinct vision put their heads together to create simple, effortless food in a sustainable way, you get one hell of a restaurant and a good reason to never eat in again.
To create a casual, modern dining space that embraces locally sourced, seasonal, sustainable ingredients to produce simple and uncomplicated food. A space that boasts a buzzing vibe. A place for a casual evening drink, a shared feast with friends, or a light bite after a beach day. Aimed to bring people together over a mutual love of good food, good wine and good times … this is BILLS Fishhouse.
THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE BRAND.
You may know Chris and Leasa Harris from their bustling Port Macquarie eatery, Salty Crew Kiosk (and if that’s anything to go by, expect big things from their second installment). The pair left Port Macquarie years ago after they sold their then business, LUXE Café and Catering, and have since been globetrotting, gathering experience and inspiration and working with renowned chefs and personalities. Most recently the dynamic duo completed a stint with Sir Richard Branson on his privately owned Makepeace Island.
Everything leading to this point has seen this trailblazing team gearing up for their biggest venture yet, BILLS Fishhouse + Bar. So, armed with a life long dream, heads full of fresh ideas and a 12-month old baby in tow, the couple made the move back to where it all began. And so, BILLS Fishhouse was born. The name is derived from Chris’ late father, Bill, who shared his son’s passion for simple seafood. Chris’ earliest memories involve heading to the co-op with his mother to scout the daily catches, then helping his father create some culinary magic in their backyard smokehouse. So it’s fair to say, this boy knows his seafood.
Between them, Chris and Leasa have decades of industry experience and a mutual vision to bring a unique offering to the Port Macquarie market. Chris, a chef of 20 plus years, will manage the restaurant and Leasa, whose experience lies in logistics and management, will handle all things behind the scenes.
Running the kitchen is Head Chef, and friend, Dom Smith. Another local boy, Smith has done his time abroad and gained a lot of his experience working in “hatted” restaurants with acclaimed chefs – Luke Mangan, to name one. Along with a wealth of experience and an innovative approach, Smith brings with him a big focus on local, sustainable produce – a passion also shared by Chris and Leasa and a key foundation for the direction of BILLS Fishhouse.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO FIND.
Primely positioned in the new Clarence House development, BILLS Fishhouse will don a relaxed and welcoming coastal aesthetic with a modern simplistic charm … A simplicity that is echoed right throughout the well-designed space, from the natural textures and polished concrete decor finishes to the produce driven menu. If you’re thinking this is just a sassed up fish and chip shop, you’re about to be pleasantly surprised. These guys mean business, and extreme care and precision has gone into crafting a beautiful sea-to-plate menu that will blow your socks off and send your taste-buds into orbit.
Eats-wise, as the name suggests, BILLS Fishhouse is all about seafood. Expect offerings along the lines of Bellingen Smoked Fish and Charred BBQ Jumbo Prawns, to larger dishes and share options such as Whole Baked Snapper. At the bar, the standout cocktails sit somewhere between beach bar meets city chic. Together with a wine list sure to be the envy of even the most developed palate, this new kid on the block certainly holds its own in the drinks department.
BILLS Fishhouse + Bar is swinging open its doors early September, and we dare say they’ll have you hook, line and sinker.