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'Real fish and chips'

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DiamondEcho
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'Real fish and chips'

#14166

Postby DiamondEcho » December 11th, 2016, 6:11 pm

Ok, we all know what it means without having to think about it too long. Yet, we probably all recognise the nuance. You have a friend in from abroad, they've enjoyed fish and chips in a hotel, or West End chippie but you reckon they've never had that mythical thing, the absolute real-deal. So where do you take them to find it?

Bear in mind I haven't lived in the UK for a transitory period away, now stretched to an unimaginable 8 years, but at the point I left I'd have suggested:

- Geales, Notting Hill Gate
- The Seashell, Lisson Grove [nr. Regents Park]
- Mr. Fish, Porchester Road, near junction of Bishopsbridge Road, W2, a 3 minute stroll away from Whiteleys.

DAK any other highly respected places? Don't have to be at all flash, it's more about quality fresh fish and authenticity of the offering to me.

redsturgeon
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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15199

Postby redsturgeon » December 15th, 2016, 8:27 am

Ah real fish and chops...the memories...

Back in the early sixties, every Friday night I was tasked with fetching the fish and chip for my dad, there was a perfectly acceptable chippy on our housing estate but dad insisted I cycle the mile or so to his favourite chippy. This was basically a shed at the back of a victorian terrace house where a long line of grey (the world wasn't yet in full colour) hungry people would snake along the side alley waiting to order the unctuous pescatarian feast that awaited them.

"Piece and six three times", was the strange incantation that had to be uttered to summon up the required hearty comestibles, and hearty they were, a "piece" of battered cod and sixpennyworth of chips carefully wrapped in yesterdays news, JFK assassinated, Torrey Canyon, Martin Luther King, Concorde flies, Man on the moon...snippets to be read through the greasy dripping stains.

Within a two mile radius there were probably half a dozen fish and chip shops, and even a van that came round once a week that now might be seen as a health and safety hazard, several gallons of 300 degree fat sloshing around in the back of a 1950s Bedford!

My first girlfriend ( eventually my first wife) managed to wean me off the standard cod towards the more exotic haddock but still every Friday I would partake of the "piece and six" after a romantic evening in the pub, while waiting at the bus stop for the last bus home. I can still taste those last greasy goodnight kisses...

Unfortunately a trip to Birmingham for three years of university, that turned into seven years, sent me away from the coast and decent fish and chips into the horrors of the Greek run chippy serving saveloy sausage (what even was that thing). It was there that I was led astray to the more exotic world of the doner kebab and the balti chicken so real fish and chips left my life for a few years.

It was to be a decade before I once again rediscovered real fish and chips, after living in the US for a couple of years, I returned to live in York. Ahh, the delights of the North Yorkshire coast, fish and chip in Scarborough, Filey and of course Whitby (the Magpie). I had a granny in law who lived in Filey, ate fish and chips three times a week and lived to be a hundred and one! York itself had several decent chippies too, the holy trinity of haddock, proper fat chips fried in beef dripping with mushy peas and copious salt and malt vinegar is a staple that takes some beating.

Fast forward 30 years and these days in the affluent South, decent fish and chips shops are few and far between, from being run by Greeks they now seem to have been taken over by Eastern Europeans. I have found one place in my gentrified city that has won awards and although the beef dripping is absent, the haddock, chips and mushy peas, served in a cardboard box (apparently keeps the batter crisp) is actually a pretty tasty feast, although over a fiver now rather than the one and sixpence it used to be.

If I go out for a pub meal I often order fish and chips, for nostalgic reason I guess and my local Rick Stein's does a passable version...but how much? Seventeen quid you must be kidding!

I must try asking for "a piece and six" the next time I'm in a chippy and see what the young blond Polish girl makes of it.

John

UncleIan
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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15204

Postby UncleIan » December 15th, 2016, 8:56 am

redsturgeon wrote:I must try asking for "a piece and six" the next time I'm in a chippy and see what the young blond Polish girl makes of it.


I really wouldn't recommend asking a young Polish lass for "a piece", and she might mishear "six" too.

Good post though.

Ian

AleisterCrowley
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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15212

Postby AleisterCrowley » December 15th, 2016, 9:30 am

My home town in Shropshire has several traditional chippies - we get a lot of tourists from the Black Country and beyond. One even does grey peas and bacon as a 'side' (no idea)
Of course, fish and chips can only be enjoyed completely when eaten by the sea.

AleisterCrowley
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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15217

Postby AleisterCrowley » December 15th, 2016, 9:41 am

No, as far as I know. Not sure I'd be able to tell. Very good batter though, nice and crisp and thin without the puffy sogginess you get at second-rate places

redsturgeon
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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15223

Postby redsturgeon » December 15th, 2016, 9:52 am

http://quaysidewhitby.co.uk

Here's one place that still uses beef dripping!

I almost feel like a pilgrimage to Whitby!

Here's another place I used to frequent, in Leeds that still uses beef dripping

http://www.theskyliner.co.uk/index.html

I inadvertently took a vegetarian young woman there for lunch, she said it was the best fish and chips she had ever tasted!

John

redsturgeon
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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15238

Postby redsturgeon » December 15th, 2016, 10:13 am

FredBloggs wrote:
redsturgeon wrote:http://quaysidewhitby.co.uk

http://www.theskyliner.co.uk/index.html

I inadvertently took a vegetarian young woman there for lunch, she said it was the best fish and chips she had ever tasted!

John

That really isn't surprising though, is it?


Perhaps not but I struggled every time a saw her after that with the moral dilemma of whether or not to come clean.

John

swill453
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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15263

Postby swill453 » December 15th, 2016, 11:06 am

FredBloggs wrote:Hmmm, best not if you knew she was veggie.

She obviously wasn't, else she would have just had the chips.

Scott.

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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15283

Postby redsturgeon » December 15th, 2016, 11:36 am

She was one of those pesky vegetarians. ;)

John

BrummieDave
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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15323

Postby BrummieDave » December 15th, 2016, 1:05 pm

Back to the original question, I'd go to Poppies just by Spitalfields Market.

swill453
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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15354

Postby swill453 » December 15th, 2016, 2:26 pm

redsturgeon wrote:She was one of those pesky vegetarians. ;)

Aka non-vegetarians :-)

Scott.

redsturgeon
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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15367

Postby redsturgeon » December 15th, 2016, 2:58 pm

swill453 wrote:
redsturgeon wrote:She was one of those pesky vegetarians. ;)

Aka non-vegetarians :-)

Scott.


I actually agree with you, just describing her as she described herself, also bearing in mind this took place some 25 years ago when anyone who didn't eat raw offal, foie gras or veal was considered a bit of a vegetarian. ;)

John

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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15406

Postby Slarti » December 15th, 2016, 4:38 pm

FredBloggs wrote:East European chippys? My word. In my little corner of England you will be VERY hard pushed to find a chippy that isn't Chinese. The first one opened around '74/'75 and at first was a novelty that they opened on a Sunday evening, but didn't sell fish on Sundays. So we had to make do either with Chop Suey Rolls or Spare Ribs on Sundays. Now they do sell fish on Sundays but indigenous chippys are virtually extinct and certainly an extremely endangered species.


Ours are mostly Turkish or Greek run, but about as good as you'll get.

Slarti

DiamondEcho
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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15451

Postby DiamondEcho » December 15th, 2016, 6:10 pm

We used to have a chippy van come through our rural village on a Friday pm, but I'd never considered how they coped with a deep-fat fryer on board.
In the cod vs haddock question, it's ironic that it seems to be received wisdom that cod is somehow better, I disagree, given the choice I'd always pick haddock even if it means 10 minutes wait for them to cook it, vs immediately having pre-cooked cod at hand. [In fact I'd also rather wait and have any piece of fish cooked fresh and from scratch for me, rather than accept an unknown proposition out of the pre-cooked offering in the heater cabinet].
Saveloys and even worse battered saveloys; it's hard to imagine selling that junk was once legal.

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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15458

Postby Slarti » December 15th, 2016, 6:44 pm

DiamondEcho wrote:We used to have a chippy van come through our rural village on a Friday pm, but I'd never considered how they coped with a deep-fat fryer on board.
In the cod vs haddock question, it's ironic that it seems to be received wisdom that cod is somehow better, I disagree, given the choice I'd always pick haddock even if it means 10 minutes wait for them to cook it, vs immediately having pre-cooked cod at hand. [In fact I'd also rather wait and have any piece of fish cooked fresh and from scratch for me, rather than accept an unknown proposition out of the pre-cooked offering in the heater cabinet].
Saveloys and even worse battered saveloys; it's hard to imagine selling that junk was once legal.


No, haddock was always looked on as the better fish, if you could afford it.
It used to cost about 50% more than cod, which meant that a fish supper for 5 or six ceased to be an affordable meal.

At least that is the way it was where/when I was brought up (North-East/ Nottinghamshire)

Savaloys are still for sale in local chip shops, along with sausages (with or without batter) in normal and jumbo sized.


My favourite chippy also sells a heart attack in paper in that they bake pork ribs and then when someone wants a rack, or a half, they pop it into the fat for 5 to liven it up. The taste is wonderful, but the amount of fat!

Slarti

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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15471

Postby redsturgeon » December 15th, 2016, 7:09 pm

In the cod vs haddock question, it's ironic that it seems to be received wisdom that cod is somehow better, I disagree, given the choice I'd always pick haddock even if it means 10 minutes wait for them to cook it, vs immediately having pre-cooked cod at hand. [In fact I'd also rather wait and have any piece of fish cooked fresh and from scratch for me, rather than accept an unknown proposition out of the pre-cooked offering in the heater cabinet]
.

I could have written that myself.

John

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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15473

Postby Lootman » December 15th, 2016, 7:16 pm

DiamondEcho wrote:In the cod vs haddock question, it's ironic that it seems to be received wisdom that cod is somehow better, I disagree, given the choice I'd always pick haddock even if it means 10 minutes wait for them to cook it, vs immediately having pre-cooked cod at hand. [In fact I'd also rather wait and have any piece of fish cooked fresh and from scratch for me, rather than accept an unknown proposition out of the pre-cooked offering in the heater cabinet].
Saveloys and even worse battered saveloys; it's hard to imagine selling that junk was once legal.

Agree 100% and that's exactly what I do - order the haddock. They have cod lying around but only cook the haddock to order.

The best F&C place I've eaten at regularly has already been mentioned - the SeaShell in Lisson Grove, NW1. The pieces of fish were bigger than your head and they had a great choice - even Dover Sole. I used to work near Marylebone Station so it was a regular haunt. Haven't been for 20 years but it's still there, so Google tells me.

DiamondEcho
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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15488

Postby DiamondEcho » December 15th, 2016, 7:34 pm

Slarti wrote:No, haddock was always looked on as the better fish, if you could afford it.
It used to cost about 50% more than cod, which meant that a fish supper for 5 or six ceased to be an affordable meal.


Hmmm, interesting. For me cod was always put forward as being somehow superior, and so that's what I defaulted to without considering it further. But when I learned haddock has a bit more oomph flavour-wise I tried that instead, and found it to be true. Given the choice of the two I've chosen haddock ever since.

I've just checked the Seashell [London NW], Mr Fish [London W], and a v good chippie on the Norfolk coast and was interested to see they each price cod and haddock exactly the same on their respective menus. So thus, at either place, it'd be haddock for me!

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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15493

Postby redsturgeon » December 15th, 2016, 7:46 pm

I hadn't seen Slarti's post but yes haddock always used to be significantly more than cod but recently I believe it is slightly more sustainable than cod so prices have equalised.

I believe that haddock was viewed by some to be more likely to have the odd bone still in it and for many that was enough to go for the inferior (IMHO) cod.

John

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Re: 'Real fish and chips'

#15610

Postby swill453 » December 16th, 2016, 9:16 am

Lootman wrote:Agree 100% and that's exactly what I do - order the haddock. They have cod lying around but only cook the haddock to order.

Interesting. In my neck of the woods (central Scotland) the default "fish supper" is always haddock, and cod, if available, is by special order. And more expensive.

Scott.


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