Fish and Chips were a Friday regular in my household as a child, until my dad decided that the other British staple of spaghetti bolognese was to be the choice for our Friday night dinner.
A lot of the local fish and chip shops in Basingstoke became Chinese takeaways, instead of banishing this traditional food and replacing it with their own culinary treats, they actually improved the quality of the fish n chips. They also provided us with that so needed added extra, Curry Sauce. I recently had some chips with curry sauce in a pub, and it rolled back the years. It’s crap we know that, but it’s also pretty addictive. One of the good things to come out of the 80’s.
Islington has its fair share of fish n chip shops. Some ok and some not ok. I think I’ve tried most of them now to be able to say that. That would explain my ever increasing waistline then.
The newly opened Beach Hut on the site of a one time closed fish n chip shop has brought life back into an odd stretch of road. There is a quality butchers, a good Italian deli and a fantastic cheese shop (even if the staff are rubbish), and some not so good cheap take away joints. Somehow they shouldn’t mix, but they do and it works. Kind of.
I think I’ve sampled the fish n chips enough times at the Beach Hut to know they are the bees knees. Unlike the fried fish of my childhood where the fish was cooked hours ahead of service and left in those traditional warm counters to sit and sit and sit until wanted. These little beauties are dipped in batter when you order them and they are fried before your very eyes. It makes all the difference.
The fish comes out lovely and crispy, the soft flesh is perfectly cooked and is a delight to eat. You can actually taste the quality of the fish. A rare thing these days.
We’ve eaten in and had take-away a few times. The décor is truly like being at the seaside, lot’s of pastel colors, wooden tables and chairs. The menu is displayed on a chalkboard behind the counter.
The portions are truly on the large side. We made the mistake of ordering a large portion each first time round, well I was seriously hungry. One would have been enough for us both. They are that big.
The chips are good and comforting. Nice and floury on the inside, although not being as crispy as I like on the outside, but still very good.
They have a good selection of sides, the mushy peas are particularly good and go well with the mains.
For some reason I prefer having a take away rather than eating in. The only downside to this is the fish and the chips are a little bit too greasy and being in the bag for the short trip home sweats them a tad, but a quick blast in a hot oven dries them out enough.
I’ve found out something in life the other week. Martini’s and fish n chips do not go together. A night of too many cocktails at 25 Canonbury Lane, a great cocktail bar just near Union Chapel told me this.
There is something about de-stressing out over a few perfectly made and alcohol laden cocktails that puts you in a good mood for the night ahead.
Things have a changed there a bit, it used to be more cocktails than beer, but on recent visits it’s more beer than cocktails. Seems the locals now, scoff at the idea of a well made mojito or martini. Actually on our last drunken visit, only women were drinking cocktails, and me. But it’s still a good place to chill and drink. Good mix of well heeled and not so well heeled people.
But after a night of strong vodka martinis, hunger always creeps in and as the Beach Hut is on our way home, we stopped in for some grub to quench our hunger. Martini’s good. Fish n chips good. Together. It just didn’t work. But I’m sure if we hadn’t been so drunk we would have realized that beforehand.
Thankfully the Beach Hut is doing good business, so it won’t be joining the vast majority of restaurants that close within their first year. Hoorah.