Giving old favourites a make-over really has been one of the themes of 2013. Reinventing Americana has been done to death, so now attention is finally turning towards some British classics.
If you think of fish and chips as being just greasy, stodgy take-away fayre, a visit to The Fish and Chip Shop may well make you reconsider.
On the front of their menu, you’ll see the strapline, “from boat to our kitchen to your table.” It really sums up their main selling points, the freshness and quality of ingredients. This approach looks to be paying off because they’ve quickly assembled quite a following. We arrived early on a midweek evening and by the time we left, there wasn’t a spare seat in sight.
Inside it’s pretty compact. The tables are tightly packed and much of the seating is counter-side. If you want to be certain of getting an actual table, I recommend that you book over the phone and request one. Either way though, booking is essential.
We knew that the food would be filling so in a rare moment of restraint, we decided to share a starter. A friend had recommended that we try the London particular fritters, so we took her advice and I’m glad we did. They were like giant pea and ham hock croquettes and were delicious, especially when dipped in the accompanying mustard.
We’d considered ordering scallops but decided against it. It was a good decision too because the ones we saw coming out looked a tad small for £4 each.
The menu isn’t huge but there are plenty of tasty sounding dishes on offer. Our heads weren’t going to be turned though. We already knew what we were ordering for our main courses, cod and chips. The fish was perfectly cooked and obviously very fresh. Underneath the batter, it was lovely and flaky and very enjoyable. The only negative was the batter itself which was crispy but a little too hard and thick.
The biggest surprise of the evening was the ‘mushy peas’. These have since been renamed crushed peas and this is a far more apt name. What we got was actually a coarse garden pea puree. We were also a little puzzled that it was served cold. To this day, we’re not sure if this was a mistake or if it was meant to be this way. Very perplexing but to be fair, it still tasted pretty good.
On the next table, was quite possibly the fussiest diner in London. We watched in bewilderment as she entered with a dog (is that even allowed) and went on to make a series of rude, somewhat bizarre requests. The staff handled each one with a smile, even though serving her must’ve been equivalent to serving five people. Credit where credit is due, they did a great job.
I’ve heard some people complain about the prices but the main courses were only £9 each (+sides) and it’s unfair to compare restaurant prices to those you’d find in a fish and chip takeaway.
All in all, we enjoyed our visit to The Fish and Chip Shop. They haven’t reinvented fish and chips, they just do it properly in a restaurant setting. It’s definitely a great place to go if you’ve got a hankering for this British classic. Actually, judging by the freshness of our fish, it’s probably a great place for seafood in general.
There were plenty of desserts on offer but we were at the Highbury end of Upper street and we couldn’t resist going on to our favourite dessert place, Ottolenghi. It’s by no means cheap but they have a fantastic range of cakes and puddings, all available to take away so we did just that.
Meal for two (including drinks and service): £51
Address: 189 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 1RQ
Find them on Facebook: facebook.com/TheFishandChipShopLondon
Follow them on Twitter: @TheFishChipShop