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 Make sure you see what all the fuss is about!
10 Masters Super Fish
Masters Super Fish restaurant is both a take away and an eat in restaurant. They serve good no nonsense fish and chips to a mixture of tourists, theatre goers (the Old and Young Vics are just around the corner), students, taxi drivers and Ambulance service workers (one of the depots is just across the road). Their portions are huge and service fast, considering that everything is cooked to order to try and ensure food freshness. (20-7928-6924)
9 Golden Union Fish Bar
The Golden Union Fish Bar, in the heart of party district, Soho, celebrates serving the British fish and chip supper for 150 years. All their fish is caught in Icelandic waters, and they change their oil regularly to make sure that you always get a freshly cooked taste. Apart from cod, plaice and haddock, they also serve up coley and pollock, rock salmon and fish bites. If you don't want fish, but your friends do, then you can have saveloy or sausage in batter with your chips, and enjoy a nostalgic milkshake or a great glass of wine or London ale with your meal too. They make their own mushy peas and tartar sauce to their secret recipes and jars of pickled onions glisten on the counter as you enter to spice up your meal with a welcome bit of acidity and crunch. (020 7434 1933)
8 Fish! Kitchen - Borough Market
Fish! Kitchen of course serves fish and chips, but its concept, comes more from the 'do one thing, and one thing only, really well' school of thought which is currently taking over the more high end restaurants in London. Fish! Kitchen is the little sister or brother of Fish! a restaurant chain which serves great fish in Richmond, Borough market and a couple of other locations across London. The Kitchen part indicates that the one thing the take away does is battered fried fish. Because it's part of a wider chain, it even has its own executive chef, who makes his own pickled gherkins and marinades to add zing to your meal. To compete with the gourmet delights of borough market, any restaurant, cafe or take out in this area has to be spot on and super good, and fish has long enjoyed a good reputation and busy premises in this part of town. If you like to feel you're eating high end, while still enjoying the greasy delights of fried take out, then this is your mecca. (020 7407 3801)
7 Sea Shell Restaurant
With its black and white tiled floors and nostalgic ambiance, this is another neighbourhood fish bar which prides itself on the quality of its food. After it was wrecked by fire, it rose, phoenix like from the flames to sail London's fish and chip seas again. The local neighbourhood being Marylebone, just north of London's Oxford Street, round the corner from the private medical world of Harley Street, and just east of Paddington, this fish and chip shop, not only does the deliciously greasy fingered take away, but allows you to relax in their next door restaurant where you can linger over your meal with a glass of wine, and enjoy the soothing sound of a bubbling acquarium. Just near Madam Tusaud's the famous wax work museum, this restaurant has also seen its share of real life stars, and has got involved in the fish sustainability campaign fish fight too. (0207 224 9000)
Served up in real newspaper, rather than the greaseproof kind which normally wraps today's fish and chips; Poppies takes you back in time, to the 1950s to be precise, and serves a traditional British food, in a traditional way, in the heart of London's Spitalfields. Waitresses and servers wear tradtitional fifties style pinnies, and some of them, even have fifties hairdos too. Pop and his family have been serving fish and chips in the East End since the end of the Second World War, and 1945. They pride themselves on their no nonsense, quick and friendly service. With a blue and white decor and seafaring paraphenalia dotted around the place, if you close your eyes, you could belive you're in a little seaside town at the end of the fourties. It's taken Pop years to recreate the world he grew up in, where Jellied eels came as standard, and every proud eastender ate fish and chips on a Friday night as part of a balanced diet of suet pudding, roast on a Sunday and bread and dripping the rest of the week. He's got a real jukebox, gas masks, a beefeater uniform and model aeroplanes, all to help take you back to the glory days of the past. And if you don't fancy fish and chips, you can get various British pies and pasties too, including vegetarian options. (020 7247 0892)
This fish and chip shop, might be a bit removed from the main drag, being in deepest South London, but it's worth the visit. It recently topped a top five list in one of London's most popular newspapers. They buy all their fish from Cornwall, and say most of it is sustainable and line caught. They've also joined the 'fish fight' campaign, encouraging people to eat more sustainable types of fish, and avoid over fished examples like Cod, and Tuna, or drag net caught species which can lead to the death of lots of unnecessary young and rare fish. As well as the battered variety, Brady's serves up potted shrimp, anchovies and sweet herring, calamari, grilled specialities, and delicious puddings. The owners have been running this one for 20 years, but restaurants have been in their family since 1909. RAIL: Wandsworth Town (20-7877-9599)
Faulkner's had has many owners over the years, but its loyal clientele just keeps going back. The Haddock is agreed to be one of the best things it does, with Plaice not far behind. The takeaway portions are huge, and you can easily share a large haddock and chips between two. The mushy peas are spot on here. You can also eat in the restaurant too, but this is perhaps a relic of a bygone age one step too far. The net curtains and heavy table cloths give it that 1960s feel, but far better to take away or order home delivery to enjoy the food in the comfort of your own home. (020 7254 6152)
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. TUBE: Notting Hill Gate (20-7727-7528)
2 Kerbisher and Malt
Like all really good fish and chip shops, this one is closed on Mondays. That's because they don't fish on Sundays so there's no fresh fish to serve on a Monday. Kerbisher and Malt does the contemporary British twist on an old favourite extremely well. They too get all their fish from sustainable sources, and this year the restaurant won the Best Fish and Chip shop title from Esquire magazine. They make all their own sauces and batters (apart from the Ketchup) and avoid preservatives or food from a packet. They even recycle the vegetable oil they use for cooking into biofuel after use. Does all the usual cod haddock and plaice, but also offers Coley, and Pollock too a more sustainable alternative to Cod but similar in taste. They also offer crushed potato salad, coleslaw and green salad, if you're inclined to get a few more vitamins in to every meal too. (02035560225)
1 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. TUBE: Covent Garden (20-7836-3785)
About Emma Wallis
London gives Emma a warm fuzzy feeling every time she gets back to her home city. As a writer and broadcaster she travels extensively round Europe and the world, but is always happy to return to London town. All that travel means she knows what she looks for as a visitor to a new city: insider knowledge, tips, and the feeling that she's found something that few travellers get to experience.
Emma enjoys keeping her fingers on the capital's pulse, in order to make sure that everyone enjoys her favourite city, as much as she does.
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