Rachael Ciesiolka, locally known as the ‘Queen of Seafood’, has gone from the sidewalk to the boardwalk… literally. Her humble, renowned pop-up café has moved from the Darwin Fish Market to Cullen Bay’s boardwalk, and her tables have increased from three to 50.
“Loyal customers say the view has improved,” says Ciesiolka. One thing that hasn’t changed is the quality of the seafood served at what is now known as Rachael’s Seafood Shack on the Boardwalk.
Ciesiolka gained her regal title on TV’s MasterChef Australia 2014. Her Szechuan and coriander crab with Asian greens so impressed judge Kylie Kwong that she put it in her restaurant and named it ‘Rachael’s Crab’.
Ciesiolka lives by the principle KISS – keep it simply seafood – and her menu leads by example. She says Australia – and the Northern Territory in particular – has some of the best seafood in the world, and often all that’s needed is a sprinkle of lemon to sharpen the taste. The freshness will ensure the flavour.
She is deeply passionate about buying Australian. All of her produce is sourced locally, following her ocean to plate philosophy. “We have got a marvellous commercial fishing industry,” she says. “It’s well-managed and environmentally friendly. And I want to support it as much as I can.
“This means my food may be a little more expensive, but you know that my seafood is clean, properly harvested, processed in Australia – truly 100 percent NT caught.” Ciesiolka buys her seafood fresh daily; she even shucks (opens) the oysters herself in front of guests. She serves a range of delicious meals, including grilled scallops with garlic butter, locally caught fish and chips and whole fish and banana prawns gently pan-fried with butter and garlic.
Her signature dish is her fish chowder – local fish and seasonal seafood cooked in a cream broth and served in a bread bowl. And, yes, you’re encouraged to eat the bowl. Feeling hungry?
Check the website for the new location
Tel: +61 418 939 492
Images courtesy of Rachael’s Seafood Shack