The ultimate British comfort food combo, fish and chips, has grown up.
Look out for ‘posh’ chippies advancing into a neighbourhood near you with menus offering gluten-free batter to enrobe fresh fish and even alternatives of langoustine tails, lobster bisque and chocolate and amaretto tart for dessert.
There are variations of ‘posh’. White tablecloths may feature at a few representatives of this new breed of chippie, but gingham or checked cloths are more likely. Quality wines, beers and ales are a must. And so is good table service, with wait staff that look after customers’ needs with a smile and some knowledge about the menu instead of just slapping food down on the table with a sneer.
‘Posh’ comes with a higher price tag than at the traditional chippie down the street, but a trip to at least one of these eateries will convince you that going posh once in a while for a 21st century experience of this much-loved stalwart is well worth it.
London – Camden, Spitalfields: Poppies, 30 Hawley Crescent, NW1 8NP and 6-8 Hanbury Street, E16QR. Tel: 020 7267 0440 (Camden), 020 7247 0892 (Spitalfields). It’s like taking a step back in time to visit Poppies, all decked out to reflect the 1940s and 1950s. The owner, Pop Newland, is said to have worked in fish & chips all his life, and his love of the dish, and its role in the post-war era, is evident. A must visit! The Camden branch regularly features live music. At Spitalfields, a wonderful retro jukebox holds pride of place.
London - Islington: The Fish & Chip Shop, 189 Upper Street, N1 1RQ. Tel: 020 3227 0979. Here’s where you’ll find langoustine tails on the menu, along with chilled pea and nettle soup, and a roasted cod dish that comes with woodland mushrooms and bacon. Now isn’t that posh. The posh factor also climbs with the inclusion of chocolate and amaretto tart to the dessert menu.
Birmingham (Oldbury): Chamberlains Quality Fish & Chips, 8 Wolverhampton Road, B68 0LH. Tel: 0121 429 7709. Just three years old, Chamberlains has already achieved ‘award winning’ status for its contributions to the fish and chips-eating public. This eatery also receives raves for its minted mushy peas – ‘to die for’ and ‘a triumph’, customers have gushed.
Cambridge: Coast Fish & Chip Restaurant, 15 Trinity Street, CB2 1TB. Tel: 01223 351 344. Located in the heart of town, Coast’s thin fries and light, crispy batter get high marks from visitors. So do the vegetarian breakfast and the Thai fishcakes! Lobster and crab starters definitely put Coast on the ‘posh’ side.
Cwmbran, Torfaen, South East Wales: Page’s Fish & Chips, Woodside Road, Monmouthshire, NP44 3EW. Tel: 01633 862 539. The menu starts with a ‘special cod’ for £7.25 but ups the ante quickly with griddled tuna steak and battered and deep-fried sea bass, monkfish and swordfish, all for under a tenner. Closed Sundays.
Harrogate: Graveley’s of Harrogate, 8-12 Cheltenham Parade, HG1 1DB. Tel: 01423 507 093. A white tablecloth experience indeed where elegant lobster bisque shares the menu with jumbo cod and chips. Set in the heart of spa town Harrogate, Graveley’s even looks posh on the outside.
Leeds (Yeadon): Murgatroyds (Billy Murgs), Harrogate Road, LS19 7BN. Tel: 0113 250 0010. A favourite stop en route to the Leeds-Bradford Airport with a teal and deep red interior, Billy Murgs gets top marks from return visitors for their crisp and dry fish batter. Queues for seating are common.
Photos by Sam Pearce of Square Image Corporate and PR Photography