Growing up in New Zealand, eating fish and chips (or ‘shark and taties’ as my dad calls them!) was invariably our Friday night routine. Mum was – still is, at least for the next year – a working mum, so I’m sure this was her way of relaxing into the weekend, having come home to produce a home-cooked ‘tea’ each and every night. We were pretty faithful to the same fish and chip shop for years…and didn’t venture much beyond the standard piece of fish each with $2 worth of chips (or whatever ridiculously low price a scoop of chips was). As I got older, I developed a taste for battered Bluff oysters – oh yum…I could eat a few of those right now! But for me, the Potato Freak, it was always about the chips, which were always perfectly cooked – and on fresh white, ‘plastic’ bread spread thickly with butter, they made the best chip buttie!
Roll on a good few years and now living in London, you would think that finding really good fish and chips would be super easy in the land of the ‘chippy’. Well that’s where you would be wrong! Chips (or fries for my North American readers) is where it all goes wrong…soggy, flaccid, pale excuses for chips are all too common. They make me shudder as I write this…
So when I saw the beginnings of a new restaurant across the street from us, I got ever so slightly excited at the thought that maybe we would finally have a decent fish and chip shop in the ‘hood, given that the name is ‘The Fish and Chip Shop’! [Note: they have since changed their name to Vintage Salt.]
Friday nights right now tend to be flying back from Geneva and wondering what the heck to do for dinner. This week, I was ahead of the game and booked somewhere…none other than across the street, at the Fish and Chip Shop, as I have a feeling that it’s only going to be accessible via booking ahead (just like other local favourites, Ottolenghi and Trullo). Particularly after Giles Coren from The Times does his review (he came in while we were there).
After over an hour in a handbrake-loving cab driver (there are no hills in London that justify such over use of the handbrake), I was desperate for a drink and food. Both of which were delivered in rapid time. Given that they had only been open less than a week, it was a relatively smooth process. They have done a great job of breaking up a long skinny room into intimate spaces. Noisy, vibey place – good for ‘thank god that week is over’ Friday nights. The food was tasty – loved the crab and asparagus salad – and well priced. Most importantly, they do good chips! I predict this place is going to be busy busy. The big bonus for us locals is that they do takeaway!