When you go to the UK there are so many delicious and outstanding edibles to be sampled. And we really want to sample as much as we can.
But just because we’re food people, doesn’t mean that we can’t appreciate what might be considered old-school, but it has to be really well done. Consider the complexity of fish and chips: proper oil, proper temperature, great fresh fish, “chips” and wait for it, mushy peas. You could probably change up the mushy peas if you are not a fan!
Two versions were tried. The first at Rock & Sole Plaice (ya I know, cute hey), close to Covent Garden. We each ordered a different fish for our fish and chips, Haddock and Plaice, both were very good, served with “chips.” We simply are not used to this kind of quality. Not the least bit greasy! The chips are approximately ½” thick as apparently, because of the size of the surface, they do not absorb oil like thinly cut ones, and guess what…most importantly, they were not pre-salted. Wow! Not like the salt bombs you get here. What is with that anyway? I mean, aren’t we supposed to be cutting back on the salt thing? And quite frankly, if I want salt, I want to add what I want not what some cook thinks I should have. This really bugs me in Vancouver. I rarely eat chips/fries and when I do I have to remember to tell them NO SALT!
The second time we ordered fish and chips was in Canterbury at Deeson’s British Restaurant. I ordered the haddock in a very light beer batter and chips. I think that haddock might almost be the best piece of fish I have ever eaten! It was so moist, flaky and not the least greasy, same with the chips, again thick cut, which from what I can tell, is traditionally English. It came accompanied with mushy peas (my first time and not bad!) and homemade tartar sauce. This is what fish and chips should be all about!
Two years ago we had really good fish and chips at Geale’s in London. The restaurant has many different fish preparations as well as fish and chips and even had white tablecloths. They have two locations, one in Notting Gate and the other, Chelsea Green.
And, believe it or not, there’s one of the commemorative blue plaques at Oldhams Tommyfield Market. This is the home of the first British fried chip, fried around 1860!
There are a few places recommended here in Vancouver that claim to make “traditional British style” fish and chips. Two I have already tried, one is pretty good the other too greasy for my taste.
Since the time of writing, Deeson’s British Restaurant has permanently closed. And it seems as though Geale’s have also closed their doors due to COVID. Hopefully they will reopen at some point.