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Fish and Chip Shop

189 Upper Street, London, N1 1RQ, United Kingdom

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The Fish and Chip shop was set up in June 2013 by Des McDonald, whose background as CEO of Caprice Holdings suggested that this would not be a regular high street chippie. Head chef here is Lee Bull, formerly head chef of The Ivy, again someone with a background rather more ambitious than managing a deep fat fryer. The dining room is narrow and the tables are, not to put too fine a point on it, crammed in. To get in and out the table needs to be pulled out to allow diners access, so the service operation has a passing resemblance to a game of Tetris. There are some booths further back, packed in with the kind of legroom and space that Ryanair might baulk at. Despite this the place was rammed even at 10 p.m. on the weekday that we visited. There were a few wines listed, starting at £23. Roberto Sarrotto Gavi de Gavi 2012 was £32 compared to a retail price of £12, a fair mark-up level. 

“London Particular fritters” (£6) are apparently the house speciality, three deep-fried fritters of pea and ham, the name a little play on Victorian slang for a “pea souper” fog. These came with a good mustard mayonnaise, and were a quite heavy but pleasant dish, the mustard usefully livening up what would have otherwise been a rather dry plate of food (12/20). Crab on toast (£10.75) was just that, though served with avocado. What was nice was that the crab was both fresh and quite generous in portion size, the avocado ripe, and there were no stray pieces of crab shell. It is not easy to assign a score to something quite this simple, but it was a capable version of an albeit basic dish (12/20).

Haddock (£9.50) was carefully cooked to order, the batter lighter than you generally find in chippies, the fish having good flavour  and the fish inside not clinging to the batter (13/20). Scampi (£12.75) was also pleasant, and while taking langoustine tails and deep-frying them seems a peculiarly British and rather crude thing to do to a delicate langoustine, these were fine, though they did not have the lovely flavour that this dish can have when cooked in a really top restaurant (12/20). Chips (£3) were quite good, thin and reasonably crisp, properly seasoned (13/20). We also tried a generously proportioned pickled cucumber and you can even have old-fashioned white bread and butter (£1). Crushed peas (£3) used garden peas rather than the marrowfat peas you would see in traditional mushy peas, and were OK but tasted a little sweeter than I was expecting (11/20).

The bill came to £32 a head, including beer and mineral water. The waiters were charming, and unusually well drilled for what is notionally a chippie. There are limits to how thrilling fish and chips can be, but certainly this restaurant delivers a superior version of this very British institution.

 

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  • peter

    Thank you for pointing out the seating. The fact that none of the early reviews picked up on this can only lead me to believe they have now squeezed in more tables.

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