The nation's favourite meal - Fish and Chips!
By Emyr Thomas
Certain restaurants are known for their expertise at turning out signature foods really well. They've pinned down the ingredients, mastered the process, and gained a strong following as a result. London has had much success creating a substantial market for Fish and Chips. It might be a little way from the sea, but London's river has given it a seafaring past too, and this national staple is a popular favourite. Locals can't get enough of the city's excellent food, and you'll often find them, along with eager tourists, at popular Rock & Sole Plaice .
Many Fish and Chip shops offer the traditional dish served in newspapers in casual surroundings, but for something a little more fancy, try the dish at The Ivy, one of London's most famous restaurants. They offer fish and chips with a side plate of celebrity stardust as this is a popular restaurant for theatreland.
For a mix between the traditional and fancy, try Kerbisher & Malt, a traditional fish and chip shop but with a sleek, modern design. Kerbisher & Malt serves fresh fish (from sustainable sources), twice-cooked chips, handmade salads, homemade mushy peas and batters, great beers and coffees in a pleasant café environment. Simple, fresh and tasty, Kerbisher & Malt ticks the box for excellent fish and chips!
Oliver's Fish and Chips
Oliver's is a blend of a traditional fish and chip shop with a fresh fish Mediterranean restaurant. The decor is light and pleasant and the atmostphere is friendly. What's unique about Oliver's is the way they prepare their fish. Chef Mario Budwig uses a special matzo meal coating, which not only makes the fish extra crunchy and flaky (and delicious!), but which also means that the meal comes in under 500 calories. Music to the ears of health conscious among us! But if you're not calorie counting, then you can truly indulge in a deep-fried Mars bar for dessert - just don't feel guilty afterwards! (020 7586 9945)
the fish club
Voted one of the top 50 restaurants by Time Out, the Fish Club proves that you don't have to compromise on taste and flavour to serve up ethically-sourced food. The menu at the Fish Club changes regularly as they serve only the freshest line-caught fish from sustainable waters. The fish is cooked to perfection as is the honey-golden, crispy batter. Tired of friend fish? Well, why not try the potted crab, smoked sprats and calamari with a side of beetroot salad, beer-battered halloumi or sweet-potato chips? Or add a touch of fine dining to your meal and order the Mersea Island oysters to start. The Fish Club deftly mixes the classic with the modern producing a delightful and ethical twist on the traditional fish and chip shop. (020 7720 5853)
Golden Union Fish Bar
The Golden Union Fish Bar lies in the heart of Soho and is a welcome stop for the tired shopper or party-goer! The restaurant serves up the best that London can offer in fish and chips. The fish, caught in Icelandic water, is chunky, perfectly flaky and cocooned in a deliciously crispy, freshly-made batter. As well as serving cod, plaice and haddock, they also serve up coley and pollock, rock salmon and pies and fish cakes that are own-made. The selection of secret recipe sauces and pickled condiments will also have your mouth wateri (020 7434 1933)
Fish! Kitchen - Borough Market
If you like to feel you're eating high end, while still enjoying the greasy delights of fried fish, then this is the place for you! Situated in the heart of Borough market with views of Southwark Cathedral, fish! Restaurant serves a long list of fresh and simply prepared fish dishes including traditional fish and chips. The interior is airy, the ambience buzzy, and the views charming; sitting at the long bar overlooking the open kitchen is also fun! Situated directly next to the restaurant, fish! Kitchen is a traditional takeaway counter for those in a hurry and concentrates on cooking one dish very well - battered fish of every type! (020 7407 3801)
Poppies serves traditional fish and chips in the traditional way, wrapped in newspaper, in the heart of London's Spitalfields market. Poppies' owner, Pat 'Pops' Newland, has been serving fish and chips in the East End for over 50 years, during which time he has maintained the recipe for original, traditional, healthy fish and chips. The 1950s themed restaurant may not be everyone's cup of tea, however there is no denying that Poppies is a fun place to dine. The service is quick and friendly, the hairstyles quirky and the blue and white décor retro. What's more, the fish and chips are second to none! If you fancy steeping back in time to a bygone era when jellied eels where a staple of an East Enders' diet, head to Poppies but be prepared to wait as there is almost always a queue! (020 7247 0892)
If dining at formica tables or themed-restaurants is just not your style but you still enjoy a serving of the classic British dish, then why not head to the Ivy. The Ivy restaurant serves up a rarefied deep-fried Haddock dish with minted mushy peas and chips, allowing you to tuck in to your favourite dish in salubrious surroundings and company. A popular restaurant with celebrities and the theatre world, you may be lucky to eat your fish and chips next to a famous face! The Ivy has a long history on the London dining scene and it's easy to see why! (20-7836-4751)
The Golden Hind celebrates 100 years of providing fish and chips to the residents of Marylebone this year! Tired and out-dated? Not a chance! The place is charming. The fish is fresh, direct from Grimsby, served in an excellent batter that is crisp and fried in clean groundnut oil. The restaurant décor is basic -- lino tiles, white walls, wooden panelling, simple tables and chairs -- but it is all kept immaculately clean. This no-nonsense restaurant is as perfect for a weekday office lunch as it is for a stop-off before the taxi home on a Friday night. The Golden Hind is the closest to the 'real' chippie as London has to offer. (20-7486-3644)
Geales' calls itself one of London's finest fish restaurants, and if its neighbourhood is anything to go by, that's probably right. They have two branches, one in Chelsea and one in Notting Hill. Founded in 1939, their ethos is simple, to celebrate great British cuisine. Their fish is sustainably sourced, and as well as putting a bit of a posh twist on the staple fried fish and chips, by serving it with tartare sauce instead of ketchup, they also provide other fish lovers with dressed crab, fish pie, whitebait and that seventies favourite, the prawn cocktail. If you've still got room, they do great British deserts too, treacle tart, apple and blackberry crumble and vanilla cheesecake. (20-7727-7528)
Kerbisher and Malt
The Financial Times lauded Kerbisher & Malt 'the perfect fish and chip shop' and we find it hard to disagree! Bringing fish and chips into the twenty-first century, Kerbisher & Malt does the contemporary British twist on an old favourite extremely well. Gone are the neon lights, soggy chips and dirty oil usually associated with the traditional fish and chip shop. Kerbisher & Malt serves fresh fish (from sustainable sources), twice-cooked chips, handmade salads, homemade mushy peas and batters, great beers and coffees in a pleasant café environment. Simple, fresh and tasty, Kerbisher & Malt ticks the box for excellent fish and chips! (02035560225)
Rock & Sole Plaice
Wins number one spot, just because of its clever name. Also the food is great, this is seriously good fish and chips. According to their publicity, they're the third oldest fish and chip shop in London and have been going since the nineteenth century. The restaurant and take away is central enough to pick them up en route to somewhere else, and a great place to stop, sit outside and chill out in the summer. Then once you've refuelled, roll next door to one of the great flower packed pubs for a pint to finish off the British experience. Prices are a little steeper than elsewhere in London, just because of its location, but its worth it, it does one thing, and one thing well. (20-7836-3785)
About Emyr Thomas
Emyr founded London-based luxury travel and concierge service Bon Vivant in 2009 and it’s his business to know London inside out: the city’s best hotels, restaurants, bars, sights and activities are all second nature to him.
Emyr arranges vacations and trips to London, recommends and books restaurants and bars, sources tickets for the theatre, concerts and VIP events, and advises his clients on a range of lifestyle services.
His day job involves living and breathing every aspect of his favorite city, and he can now pass on his wealth of knowledge to you. Follow him on Twitter at @BonVivantLiving
Read more about Emyr Thomas here.