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London in 10 Fish & Chips

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.

Bonnie Gull

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.

Fish Central

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.

Fish Club

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.

Poppie’s

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.

Toff’s

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.

Text by Oriol Rodríguez for Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Mark Hillary , Marshall Segal, RosieTulips, Ewan Munro, Duncan C

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8 Things to Do If You re Touring London With Children

Don’t be fooled – a trip with children is never like one without them. Those long walks to discover Shoreditch’s designer stores, the night-time gin tonic in a new, stylish bar in Dalston or endless mornings spent trying out vintage spectacles in Spitalfields will morph into such activities as throwing breadcrumbs to our friends the ducks. Following is a rundown of the things we can do if destiny takes us to London in the company of our household nippers.

Lunch at La Roma Bella

Just opposite the British Museum, an essential visit if our children are minors – and even if they aren’t, what the heck – stands this restaurant, defined as “the most family friendly place in London”. Here, the kids can enjoy a dish of tasty, wholesome pasta, while the staff amuse them and give them paper and crayonsto draw, to later hang up the results on the restaurant’s main wall. Their prices are moderate, a break from the somewhat exorbitant prices in town.

A Visit to the Zoo

Reaching the Zoo can end up being like a desert crossing if you happen to start off outside the city centre. Distances in London are enormous, but the effort is worth your while, as it is the oldest zoo in the world after Vienna’s, dating from 1828. They have an incredible reptile section and species which the whole family will probably be seeing for the first time, as well as lots of spots to relax. We recommend approaching the zoo by crossing beautiful Regent’s Park, one of our favourite London parks for children – apart from the fact that there is always something going on there, it has a big lake with various species of friendly ducks which, for your kids, will really make their day. As if that weren’t enough, there is also a huge playground and a lovely restaurant with a pleasant terrace.

An Incursion into Europe’s Largest Toy Store

In Piccadilly, where the lights, the festive atmosphere and the multi-coloured shop windows make this an attraction in itself for young and old alike, be sure to stop off at Hamley’s, an amazing department store dedicated solely to toys, where the most variegated product presentations seem to be happening all the time. You won’t leave empty-handed and are likely to spend more time in the shop than you bargained for, but the look on your children’s faces will be priceless.

The House of Sherlock Holmes

You don’t need to know anything about Sherlock Holmes to have a great time in the house of this aloof, intelligent investigator with the odd addiction. At 11 Baker Streett here is the perfect mock-up of what is supposed to be the home of the most famous detective in the history of fiction. The children will be aghast at the sheer number of objects on display in there.

An Afternoon in the London Transport Museum

This museum, located in Covent Garden, features a collection of over 80 vehicles which youngsters are allowed to climb into and play around in as much as they want, in addition to numerous interactive devices distributed throughout the depot.

Lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s Union Street Café

This restaurant is not exclusively for children, but a very pleasant spot for the whole family to enjoy the cuisine of one of the United Kingdom’s celebrity chefs (with the permission of Jamie Oliver and Lorraine Pascale). It is sited in the pleasant district of Southwark, once a working-class area, which is gaining momentum as a hipster venue of late. It is near the Tate Gallery (another museum which is ideal for families, as they lay on numerous activities for children), so it is ideal for having lunch before visiting the museum. The menu features carefully prepared Italian cuisine which caters to all tastes.

Cereal Killer

After lunch at Ramsay’s and a visit to the Tate, a good option would be to head for this café in Brick Lane, run by two hipster brothers who serve only breakfast cereals, with various types of milk and toppings. There you will discover more kinds of cereal than you could imagine, including limited editions, which children will delight in. They will feel very much at home in the midst of the sweet paradise that unfolds before their eyes, apart from rubbing shoulders with customers in this modish locale.

 

Text and photos by Laura Conde of Gastronomistas.com

 

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The City that Never Stopped Pulsating

The people of Manchester always have to settle for second prize. Perhaps it is a bitter victory to come behind rivals, first-placed London, the economic, social and cultural epicentre of old Britain, but Manchester is still plugging away. They have always had a better football team than any in the capital and, as far as music is concerned, they have sometimes hit Londoners where it hurts most.

When it comes to Manchester’s nightlife, what comes to mind willy-nilly is stories and pictures associated with The Haçienda, that hotbed of endless creativity that set the trends in club music throughout the United Kingdom for over a decade. It is now eighteen years since it was converted into an apartment block. However, its demise did not in any way herald a decline in Mancunian nightlife. Club culture has long enjoyed good health in that city and this, added to the fact that music spots have always been plentiful in Manchester, makes it one of the hotspots in Europe.

The city boasts countless centres of night leisure. One of the most vibrant of them, which is currently on an upsurge, is the Northern Quarter, located in Manchester’s historic centre, dating from medieval times. The Council aims to give the neighbourhood a new lease of life, offering low rentals to attract young entrepreneurs. Located here is one of the best house and techno clubs, Sankeys (Radium St. M4 6AY). It is worth visiting for the quality of their sound and, incidentally, their equipment was designed by the likes of NASA. A good way to start the evening in this district is to have a pint at Odd Bar (30-32 Thomas Street), a sort of pub which won the best city bar award and which has a quality DJ programme. For live music, a great choice is Moho Live (Tib St., M1 1SH). There you can find anything from upcoming bands to Soundsystems by seminal electronic artists like Nightmares on Wax.

Another not-to-be-missed club in the Oxford Road university area is Joshua Brooks (106 Princess St. M1 6NG), located on the corner of Charles Street and Princess St. Aside from being a bar, at night it doubles as a disco, where the music ranges from indie to dance and dubstep. For addicts of black sounds, the city’s temple is called Funkademia Sited in Mint Lounge (46-50 Oldham Street), their motto is “wear what you like, but dress well”. Saturdays evenings are the most crowded and feature sessions of the best northern soul, groove, old-school hip hop and disco music.

The Event

For some years now, one of Britain’s paramount electronic music events has been held in  Manchester. This is The Warehouse Project, a serie of events that gets under way at the end of September and takes places every weekend until the beginning of January. Under the watchword, “For Twelve Weeks This City Is Ours”, the event’s organisers have drawn up a programme featuring a pithy lineup, designed to cure your hiccups. This year will see the likes of Jamie XX, Luciano, Clark, Siriusmodeselektor, Leftfield, Adrian Sherwood, John Talabot, Andrew Weatherall, Goldie, Carl Craig, Four Tet... The venues differ from one year to the next. According to the festival’s policy, the location should be outlandish every time. Until 2007, this was sited at their current operations centre. It lies in the underbelly of Piccadilly Station(Store St. M1 2GH), an unsettling place on account of the presence of catacombs. Each club night has its own theme. This year we recommend the weekend devoted to New Order, on 5 and 6 December, with a stunning lineup featuring such names as New Order themselves (they will be performing both days), A Certain Ratio, Erol Alkan, Horse Meat Disco and Factory Floor, among others.

As you can see, the intense Manchester scene continues apace. Come and feel the vibe – check our flights here.

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Images by Tom Jerkins photographic, Odd Bar, Duncan Hull, The Warehouse Project, Funkademia

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The Best Pubs in Cardiff to Enjoy St Patrick’s Day

Although the epicentre of festivities is located in Ireland, St Patrick is celebrated as their own in many cities the world over. At any pub in the world which marks this festivity you can find four-leaf clovers, caps or pastries… the sky’s the limit when it comes to tingeing any object or food with green to mark the popular event. So green are the pubs on St Patrick’s Day that they look like the living-room of a leprechaun, those tiny, pipe-smoking gnome-like beings wearing a striking, tall hat and holding some gold coins in their hands. Now a pot of gold is said to be found at the end of a rainbow, so be alert on the big day because, if you spot one of them, he might lead you to his treasure. Leprechauns are also reported to pinch people who are not wearing green, so watch your step!

The Origin of Saint Patrick

Some legends hold that St Patrick was born in the mining village of Banwen in the Dulais Valley, some 40 kilometres from Cardiff. The inhabitants of that village lost no time in putting up a sign in honour of the saint on the ancient Roman road and claiming it to be his birthplace. Of course, the Irish totally reject that story. They do, however, agree that he died on 17 March 461 and his feast is celebrated with joyful festivities and spectacular parades throughout the day.

Pubs: an Irish Idiosyncrasy

Don’t be fooled – one of the main activities on St Patrick’s Day is having a few pints at the local pub. This is taken so seriously that, while the daily average of Guinness consumption in the world is 5.5 million pints, on St Patrick’s Day this figure climbs to 13 million pints. St Patrick’s is a perfect day for touring the pubs and beer houses of Cardiff. Please follow us!

1- The Finest Welsh Cuisine at Y Mochyn Du (The Black Pig)
Sophia Close, Cathedral Road

Surely one of the best pubs in Cardiff. Regarded as one of the finest in the United Kingdom, it was named Best Pub of the Year in 2007. Its staff is particularly helpful and efficient and they provide a vast array of beers, including many local varieties. Their homemade food is good, too, and includes such typical Welsh dishes as laverbread. Based on algae, this traditional recipe was once dubbed “the Welsh caviar” by no less than Richard Burton. And, weather permitting, what better way to while a few hours drinking in their glassed-in area, or in the garden.

2- The Largest Selection of Beers at Urban Tap House
25 Westgate Street

Sited in an erstwhile fire station, Urban Tap House is not a typical Welsh pub in the historical sense. Instead, this is a modern brick building comprising five large saloons distributed on two floors which features a colossal selection of home-brewed beers and ciders. They rotate weekly between a total of 15 handpumps and have fridges crammed with an assortment of beers from all over the world. This is the Mecca of all good beer-lovers, and of gastronomes, too. Their selection of hamburgers and generous helpings are also among the best in the city, as well as being the ideal companion to a good pint.

3- The City Arms – the Sports-Lovers Pub
10-12 Quay Street

This charming pub located in the heart of Cardiff serves fine-quality beer, notably Welsh, classical, wheat-based and fruit beers. City Arms is frequented by both lovers of the malted elixir and sports enthusiasts who flock here to quaff their favourite drink while watching sporting events on plasma screens, engrossed in lively conversation. It was chosen as the city’s best pub in 2012.

4- The Pen & Wig and its Fantastic Terrace
1 Park Grove

A traditional pub with a modern touch and an incredible terrace. The Pen & Wig sources its beer from local production and its selection varies from time to time. With a full-blown kitchen, it also offers tasty dishes crafted from the city’s freshest produce.

5- Dempsey’s Irish Bar –The Castle Pub
15, Castle Street

If you happen to be visiting the famous castle, one of the city’s icons, you can’t fail to miss this delightful Irish pub located immediately opposite the main entrance. It features live music and fun-packed nightlife – the ideal spot to have some typical Guinness or Harp Lager and to soak up all its Gaelic essence.

Go for it! Check out our prices here!

Text by Scanner FM

Image by Bkkbrad

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