The Best Fish and Chips in London
Growing up in the North West of England, I took good, cheap fish and chips for granted. Soon after moving down to London, I realised not everyone in the world had it so lucky. To this day I don’t know why it seems beyond the capabilities of most London kitchens to produce a fresh, crisp battered fish, bright, dry-fried chips and a side of proper mushy peas (not minted garden peas, for goodness’ sake) and serve the whole lot for less than the price of a cinema ticket but the fact remains, for the best F&C, head North. For the best of what London can offer, try:
I’ll start with the Hind, because all said and done it’s probably London’s best stab at proper fish and chips. At prices that are about as reasonable as you could hope to expect in this part of town, and with no silly fripperies or pointless garnishes getting in the way of you and your dinner, this is a pretty authentic operation. The batter is relatively thin and grease-free, the chips aren’t overcooked or too dry, and it’s always a popular little place.
73 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2PN
Image Credit: Steve Bowbrick, flickr
The Two Brothers
The problem with a lot of London fish and chip shops is they try and be all things to all people. In my own hideously biased opinion, the moment you put a £30 Dover Sole on your menu, you stop being a chippie and start being a seafood restaurant. But that said, the quality of the fried cod at the Two Brothers is very decent, a beer batter apparently but not too much of it, and the accompanying chips were unpretentiously soft and dry. Obviously ignore all the silly things like fish cakes and skate wings and you could have a pretty good dinner.
Suffering from a similar set of afflictions as Two Brothers (overly long menu, pointless extras like cold prawns to start), Masters nevertheless has a solid reputation for fish and chips south of the river, and mainly lives up to them. My cod was slightly overcooked, with an extra crunchy batter bordering on painful, and chips were a bit orangey and soft. The bill wasn’t extortionate, though, and I liked the traditional Northern chippie habit of putting pictures of faded celebrities on the walls, too.
191 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UX
Image Credit: su-lin, flickr
Kerbisher & Malt
It probably says more about the scarcity of decent F&C options in London than Kerbisher’s product that this young chain (they began in 2011) already has four locations across town. But the fish is admittedly good, probably with a batter thicker and holding more grease than I’d like but always fresh, and I like that despite a slightly fancified menu (calamari, falafel(?)) they refuse to sell garden peas.
Many a Londoner’s favourite fish and chip joint, and not without reason – the chips are bright and fluffy, the fish fresh and not too heavily battered, and £12 isn’t I suppose a vast amount to pay. My only issue with Poppies is the tryhard ‘retro British’ theme which they probably hoped would be quirky and different but somehow ends up feeling like a fish & chip kiosk at Disneyworld, ie distracting.
Spitalfields and Camden Town
Image Credit: Rosie Tulips, flickr
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Over the seven years Chris Pople has been writing the Cheese and Biscuits blog, he has written about nearly 500 different restaurants, which is far too many by anyone’s standards. During that time he has been lucky enough to be picked as one of the top food blogs in the Times, New Statesman and Esquire magazine, and for the last three years running has been named as one of London’s 1000 Most Influential people. He’s probably in a restaurant right now, scouring the menu for spelling mistakes and waiting for a martini.