London in 10 Fish & Chips
14 November, 2016
A sign up in the entrance to Rock And Sole Plaice proclaims there is nothing more British than a good helping of fish and chips doused in salt and sprinkled with vinegar. Indeed, along with afternoon tea, the Union Jack, Beckham and Victoria and the Gallagher brothers’ diatribes, this dish is one of the grand institutions of British society. Having staged a comeback in the islands after decades of decline, this simple but exquisite and foolproof combination of batter-fried codfish and a good helping of chips is drawing ever more adepts. Here, then, are London’s 10 best chippies, which will turn you into a die-hard supporter of the cause.
Fish and chips is just one of the offerings on the menu at Bonnie Gull, but their version of it is so ineffably delicious they could easily dedicate themselves solely to this dish. Their fish is battered North Sea haddock with a varnish of beer and tempura, giving it a doubly crunchy texture. Their chips, a greasy indulgence, are cooked slowly in beef dripping. To not dip them in their homemade ketchup would be unforgiveable.
A veritable London culinary institution specialising in fish. Opened in 1968, very few things have changed since then at the Fish Central. In their case, this is great news. As its name suggests, their menu offers the best and freshest fish and seafood, from humble sardines to pompous oysters. Their fish and chips, among the best in town, provide an exquisite contrast between the excitingly crunchy chips, and tender codfish which melts in your mouth.
Strict rules about how fish and chips should be made limit the varieties of fish to cod – or, failing that, haddock. Luckily for our palates and stomachs, The FishClub flouts the regulations. This small chippy, with two branches in The City, also makes fish and chips from sardines, gilt-head bream, mackerel, sole and – the great speciality of the house – pollock, among others. Guests can choose between classical-style batter (a mixture of flour, egg and beer), breadcrumbs, grilled, baked or fried. The only item which is set are their chips, which are large, potent and crunchy.
The Golden Hind
A classic among classics, in 2014 the folks at The Golden Hind celebrated their hundredth anniversary as purveyors of fish and chips in London. Peerless masters of the trade, they conceal their scrumptious haddock under a feathery-light batter. This is accompanied, needless to day, by generous helpings of chunky potatoes. Those of you who are not too keen on tubers can swap the chips for colourful, appetising sautéed peas. Golden Hind, 73 Marylebone Lane.
Golden Union Fish Bar
In the heart of Soho, Golden Union has been frying up their wares for over a hundred and fifty years. Such centennial experience translates into generous portions of codfish, perfectly seasoned and coated in a crunchy batter which – thanks to some secret recipe – has a texture similar to puff pastry. Special mention goes to their silky, spongy French fries.
Kerbisher & Malt
A top-drawer chippy, with four restaurants dotted around London – we recommend the one on Shepherd’s Bush Road. Here, the popular British culinary classic comes in many venues and options, notably battered in beer, in accordance with tradition, fried in breadcrumbs or grilled, for those who are seeking a healthier variety. Their superior quality chips are accompanied with mouth-watering mushy peas, pickled onion rings, coleslaw or homemade tartare sauce.
Behind a somewhat kitsch decor, a re-creation of London’s East End in the 40s and 50s, lies one of the best spots for wolfing down fish and chips. The classic aesthetics also spills over into their cuisine. The folks at Poppie’s don’t try to innovate, but to raise tradition to the nth degree – a hearty slice of codfish delivered fresh from Billingsgate market, and chips of the kind that are crunchy on the outside and spongy on the inside.
Rock And Sole Plaice
This is Idris Elba’s favourite chippy. We support his verdict, not so much for the quality of their fare as for the experience as a whole. Off the beaten track in an alley next to Covent Garden, the Rock and Soile Plaice is scarcely a few square metres of white tiles coated in a fine, greasy layer. Their cute terrace is the best place to eat. A typical venue where you feel like just another Briton stuffing yourself with fried fish.
Sutton And Sons
Danny Sutton, the owner of this fish-and-chips shop, listed in all guides as one of the best in town, also runs a fishmonger’s in the same street. No wonder then that anything they serve up at Sutton and Sons is so fresh it is liable to leap off the plate. Their top-of-the-line fish and chips is much more wholesome when paired with one of their numerous craft beers. For dessert, we recommend Mrs Sutton’s caramel pudding.
Ever since they opened in 1968, experts, connoisseurs and epicures of fish and chips have chosen it on more than one, two or three occasions as the best chippy in both London and the United Kingdom. Juicy, scaly codfish coated with fatless, crunchy batter. While the generous island of fish surrounded by crispy chips does not appear to be based on any special recipe, you will be itching to come back to this chippy on Muswell Hill even before you leave it.
Come and try this classic of British cuisine – book your Vueling to London here.
14 November, 2016