10.6 C
Byron Shire
July 18, 2024

Smokin’ Fish

Latest News

Ready for the meta-crisis?

The attempted assassination of Donald Trump has caused shock waves, but it’s sadly not surprising this would happen, with so much hate and vitriol being expressed in the US presidential race.

Other News

Federal Labor funds Mullum hospital site masterplan  

A $263,000 federal grant has been awarded to Byron Shire Council for a masterplan and development strategy for the former Mullumbimby Hospital site.

Mullum’s Wimbledon tennis day, July 28

Mullumbimby Tennis Club are having their annual Wimbledon Day on Sunday, July 28, commencing from 10.30am. Organisers say, ‘The community...

Malibu Club raises $18k for local charities

A recent presentation night at the Byron Bowlo was held by the Byron Bay Malibu Club, where an impressive $18,000 was  donated to local charities. 

While Hamas exists, Palestine will never be free

In response to David Heilpern’s article regarding antisemitism and Israel, (Echo, July 3) it is probably generally agreed that...

Renewed appeal for information after human remains located – Coffs Harbour

Police have renewed their appeal for information after human remains were located at a Coffs Harbour beach last month.

Lavertys Gap history

The Lavertys Gap hydro power station was installed in 1919. In 1939, during the Great Depression, people had no...

By Vivienne Pearson

I was first introduced to the delights of smoked fish when I lived in London in my 20s. My friends and I thought it the height of sophistication to create a platter of smoked fish and salad for a long English summer lunch.

Back in Australia, apart from some occasional smoked salmon from the supermarket, it is not a lunch I have had very often. And, with recent reports about salmon farming being a far cry from our preferred image of wild fish leaping out of a flowing river (see Four Corners episode from 31 October 2016), artificially pink salmon is a little less appealing.

Enter not one, but two brand-new local alternatives. Starting within months of each other, Cured Seafoods and The Bay Smokehouse are both smoking fish locally.

Given the paucity of smoked-fish culture in Australia, maybe it’s not surprising that both businesses were started by people who come from other countries.

Damien Curtis, of The Bay Smokehouse, grew up in Europe and was brought up eating and loving English smoked fish before training there to be a ‘master smoker’. ‘I love the magical effect that smoking has on an oily fish; it’s almost like alchemy,’ Damien says.

Emma Francis, of Cured Seafoods, grew up in New Zealand, where smoked fish is commonly eaten. Her first job, at age 14, was in a seafood store and she brought the tradition of home-smoked fish when she moved to the Byron Shire 20 years ago. ‘It was always our party trick!’ she says.

Emma offers a Smoked Ocean Trout, sourced from Tasmania, a Rainbow Trout, from Victoria and locally sourced Mullet. Damien offers smoked locally caught Spanish Mackerel, Tailor and Sea Mullet, as well as smoked fish dips and rillettes (a traditional French patê-style dip, which is made paleo and dairy free).

Mullet is a fish with an undeserved bad reputation. ‘It is underappreciated but is a lovely oily fish, and it is plentiful,’ says Damien. ‘It is so good for you,’ says Emma. ‘Maybe we need to start calling it “mull-ay” instead!’

Both use hardwoods for their smoking. ‘I try not to choose strong-flavoured wood,’ says Damien. ‘My mixture of hardwoods is my secret ingredient,’ says Emma.

At this stage, both only sell locally. Damien’s The Bay Smokehouse is at New Brighton, Byron, Murwillumbah, Kingscliff and Ballina Farmers Markets as well as the Bruns Fish Co-op, The Farm and Bay Seafood. Emma’s Cured Seafoods is at a myriad of independent stores, including Baz&Shaz, Ocean Shores Butcher, Newy Store (where she also works) and the Federal and Main Arm stores.

So, how best to enjoy a spot of smoked fish? Emma stresses the benefit of leaving her fish out of the fridge for 20–30 minutes before eating. ‘It’s best at room temperature,’ she stresses. Then, her preferred way of eating is simple: ‘On some fresh sourdough with a squirt of lime,’ she says. ‘That’s how I roll.’

Damien has similar taste. ‘With a lemony salad – warm crusty bread and salad,’ he says.

For me, I will still be serving it on a platter with salad. I’m set for a long summery lunch – with the bonus of better weather, even as we head into winter, than I ever got during my London smoked-fish-eating summer.

Cured Seafoods: www.curedseafoods.com.au. The Bay Smokehouse: Facebook+Instagram @thebaysmokehouse


Damien Curtis and Brett Hogan with some Spanish Mackerel.

Sea Mullet+ Rillettes_TheBaySmokehouse-Supplied

The Bay Smokehouse fish and rillettes


Emma Francis from Cured Seafoods

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. The fish is very tasty our 2 and 7 year olds love it!! I recently tried the smoked trout from the newy store and it was delicious my only concern is that the trout is farmed?? Could we please clarify that one way or the other? Many thanks. Sandra


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Support Tweed’s rough sleepers in Tweed Heads and join the Community Sleepout

Vinnies and Fred’s Place are asking for the residents of the Tweed Shire to come together for a night and experience what it is like to be homeless.

Cr Dicker calls on Ballina Council to look at future options for Wollongbar pods 

Visiting the Wollongbar pod village over the weekend, after residents were given notice to leave the pods by November, Cr Kiri Dicker said: ‘It’s total waste of taxpayers’ money to tear it down when the shortage of housing is so severe’.

Maintenance work Blackwall Drive, Wardell

Maintenance work is being carried out on Blackwall Drive, Wardell starting Monday 22 July.

Byron’s foreshore future – a closer look

Plans for Byron Bay’s foreshore are on exhibition until July 31 – Council staff propose options and a ten-year vision for the much-used space, including the removal, or partial removal of the carpark around the pool and Fishheads restaurant.