I’m a little bit sorry that I didn’t take a picture of this place, given that there doesn’t seem to be one anywhere on the entire internet. Not that it looks like anything special from the outside, but you may need it to help you recognise it when (not if) you go there.
I say ‘when’ because its fish and chips are truly marvellous – but first I should come clean. This place has a special meaning for me. When I was small, one set of grandparents owned a holiday home in Dover. The other set came to visit and liked the place so much that they bought a house in Deal themselves a few years later. Walmer completes the holy trinity of these towns, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that we often ended up walking along this unassuming yet attractive seafront, fish and chips being directly out of the paper, and just generally good family times being had.
But none of this means that I was automatically bound to still love this establishment’s fish and chips years later – in fact, quite to the contrary. After all, how many of us have tasted a food from yesteryear and found that it just doesn’t quite taste the same, or as good, as it used to? I know I have. So, needless to say, the pressure was on this place.
Firstly, it looks exactly the same as it used to, with its red and gold signage simply saying “Fish and Chips”. Always reassuring. Its tiny counter inside gives way to tables and chairs outside, directly overlooking the seafront.
Be assured too that there’s something to suit all tastes; if you’re not into fish, try one of their pies (not homemade unfortunately; these pies are of the Pukka variety) or (battered or unbattered) sausages. Harking back to my childhood (where I did not eat fish of any variety), I went for an unbattered sausage and medium chips, while my husband plumped for medium cod and chips (although said in retrospect that perhaps reducing one of these in size would have been alright – and he’s a greedy lad – the portions really are huge). The sausage tasted just as I had remembered, and while you can make of that what you will, I was as happy as Larry. The cod was also deemed perfectly cooked, as were the chips, and with unlimited returns for more sauce or salt or vinegar, what’s not to like?
Actually, I can tell you what IS not to like: the fact that this place does not take card payments. Fine 90% of the time; not so fine when you’ve literally just arrived in the UK and this is your first stop and you only have euros on you. The reason why this is a problem is because there is no cash machine anywhere on the Strand, meaning that you have to dash to the only place on the street that does dispense cash – the off-licence, where the minimum spend for cashback is £6 and so you end up buying 3 family bags of Tyrells and a bar of Green & Black’s that you didn’t really need (cough cough).
Nonetheless, a positive experience that made me look back on this aspect of my childhood with a sigh of contentment, and did not make me feel too out of pocket either (it was only about £7 for the two of us). Then, of course, after that you can go and play in the nearby arcades and get rid of a lot of 2ps. Simple pleasures…
Walmer Fish & Chips, 36 The Strand, CT14 7DX
tel: 01304 381712