Having shelved our initial plans to go for an Indian meal in London due to scheduled trips to a Thai restaurant (reviewed!) and an Indian restaurant elsewhere (not reviewed yet), we decided that being in Britain, fish and chips was the way forward. While I’m not sure that I’ll ever find anything to equal my once-favourite fish and chip haunt, Walmer Fish & Chips in Kent, but nevertheless, we thought this one would be a good bet due to the good reviews it received online combined with its winning name.
Located down an unassuming street off Long Acre in west London, we were worried we wouldn’t spot it. We needn’t have been: it has a bright green sign outside and several people are likely to be found making use of its outdoor seating area, the restaurant quietly seeing off competition from the other chippies and restaurants elsewhere in the street. And just in case you weren’t already sure of what a good idea it was to come here, there’s also a big tiled sign on one of its outside walls, proclaiming the provenance and history of the dish and how it epitomises England and all that jazz.
We were initially worried that we wouldn’t be able to get a seat or that we’d have to queue for a while, but these worries were very quickly put to rest as we were ushered to a table inside and offered menus (yes, this chippy offers table service). Even though the restaurant offers the full range of traditional complements (such as baked beans and mushy peas), we just went for a regular rock and chips (me) and regular cod and chips (him). We were quickly glad we’d gone for ‘regular’ – it was huge, and I’m not sure that my fiancé, who normally never seems to run out of room, could have put away a large portion. Ordering a water and a lemonade, you’re certainly not left under any illusions – these are just normal drinks out of a can that you’d buy at any corner shop. Not that this is a problem 🙂
Despite the table service, there are no pretensions about this place; it definitely has more of a greasy spoon café vibe than a chic fine dining feel, but that’s what you come for. You come for good honest fish and chips, and that is what you get. As mentioned, the portions are generous, and the quality of the food also passed the French test, being dubbed ‘excellent’ by him indoors. The fish is cooked well and is not at all rubbery, the batter is crispy and delicious, and the chips are too. Vinegar, salt, ketchup and whatever other toppings you might require are available in copious quantities, and all things considered (the servers are, for the most part, also the ones cooking your meal, so this is taking multitasking to a fairly demanding level), the service is very good.
The tables are pushed quite close together, and so it can get a little crowded inside, and also means that you may well end up sitting next to perfect strangers. But this again shows that there’s no pretence involved here, even though the bill, at £13 a head for the menu described above, may be a little too expensive for some (even though it is very normal for central London). However, for coffee, we did choose to dash: given the choice of a Caffè Nero down the road for a decent espresso, or instant coffee at the Rock and Sole Plaice, we abandoned my British roots and legged it for little Italy.
Address: 47 Endell Street, London WC2H 9AJ
Tel: 02078 363785