It’s time to have an honest conversation about the London chippy. That London’s fish and chip scene can’t compete with those in the north of England, Scotland, or the coastal towns where salty chips and saline air provide an experience tethered to geography is obvious. But the scarcity of great fish and chip shops in the centre is also proof that no Londoner has ever found themselves there, thinking: “I’d love some fish and chips right now”. Fish and chips is home food; it’s food that feeds a community. Whole areas of London — Muswell Hill, Brockwell, Bromley — dine out on one good fish and chip shop that locals can proudly claim as their own.
The existence of great local fish and chips shops acknowledges a truth: The best way to consume fish and chips is ideally lounging horizontally, watching something bad on TV. For this, it is imperative that the chippy be within 5-10 minutes of home, within the radius of the one government-mandated walk per day. The pandemic has another unintended, wholly-positive side-effect: the lack of demand for fish and chips means that every single fillet of fish, every single golden chip, is being fried fresh to order. No more waiting on the counter going stale. No more having to eyeball the rack and work out if that haddock really did come out of the fryer two minutes ago.
So pile on all the condiments, chuck in some mushy peas, some pickled wallys, bread and butter, a battered saveloy. It may be childhood nostalgia, it may be the cholesterol, but this is one of the few meals left that still feels like a treat every time.Read More