Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Glorious Fish n Chips

For some reason, I do not really want to eat Indian food for a while. Not that I haven’t enjoyed eating some really good simple food. I’ve kind of developed an addiction for dhal makhani, that slow cooked dhal finished off with a good dollop of butter or cream. Boy it is good.
It’s more for the fact that Indian food here in good ol’ Blighty is pretty poor compared to the motherland. The sauces are thicker, less flavoured and a lot sweeter also. You can actually get this type of food in India, but it is in tourist hotels, and when you eat it, you can taste the difference.
So after returning, I was a hankering for some good old British fare. After a Sunday lunch at the Albion, I was pondering what else I could eat. Pie n Mash, a good English breakfast. No, fish n chips were something I fancied more. No idea, why, but I wanted chips. After 10 weeks of none, I needed a slight chip fix. A burger back at Byron was an option, but it was the fish that won that mental battle.
The thing with London is that there are not too many good places that sell a good portion of this old time favourite.
There is the Sea Fish on the Highbury & Islington end of Upper Street, which do a pretty good portion. I’ve never eaten in the restaurant, as living just around the corner it was cheaper to get a take-away. Thankfully they re-enforced their bags. You would always see a portion of chips on the floor, as the bottom of those bags was pretty weak.
The only other shop I have eaten at and liked is The Rock & Sole Plaice. This venerable institution of quality fish and chips in the heart of Covent Garden. Apparently it has or a fish and chip shop has been on this site since 1831. Thankfully they have changed their oil since then.

These days the restaurant is a Mecca for all tourists from all nations to sample this quintessential English food. You can spot the restaurant as you walk down Endell Road, as the tourists always sit outside even when it is cold and windy. This occasion I just couldn’t sit outside. Hey I have been in hot, humid weather for the last 10 weeks. It’s cold in London at the moment.
Inside is of a typical fish n chip shop. White tiled walls, cheap tables and chairs. I have always liked the theatre posters on the walls, as it gives you something to look at whilst you wait an age for your meal, especially if you order anything but cod.

The menu is simple. Lot’s of different battered fish to nosh on, either in a regular size or the larger version. There is a good selection of pies and even some deep fried, battered veggie options.
It is not the cheapest option in the world, but as it is mainly a tourist joint in Covent Garden the prices are expected. Especially as they produce consistently the best portion of fish n chips in London that I have tasted.

The best and most expensive option is the Halibut. The white soft, moist flesh is encased in a batter that is delightfully fried to a crispy perfection. The plaice is good, but somehow the taste of the halibut is so much nicer.
The portions here are mighty big, even the regular size is big. The fish comes with a very large portion of chips that would take me nowadays two days to finish. I must ask for a doggie bag next time. The chips are handcut and are fried to a crispy outside and fluffy on the inside. My preferred way of cooking a chip. Lush.
On the table are the necessary condiments of tomato ketchup, tartare sauce, salt, pepper and malt vinegar. All the essentials you need for a quality meal of our nations favourite dish. Ok our second favourite dish. 

Rock & Sole Plaice on Urbanspoon

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