London's best chips
Sea CowGroundnut is the oil of choice for this small chain of chippies. The potatoes are peeled, thick-cut and fried just once before serving with tartare sauce, mayonnaise or ketchup. Choose your fish from the large ice box at the end of the counter – the likes of whole sea bass, red snapper and gilthead bream are all cooked to order. Sea Cow, 37 Lordship Lane, SE22 8EW (020 8693 3111) East Dulwich rail.
Joanna’sAt just £2 a serving, Joanna’s delicious hand-cut chips are a good-value addition to a meal at this popular Crystal Palace brasserie. Served in a porcelain dish that helps keep them hot, they’re fried in vegetable oil and made from whatever potatoes are best at the time – at the moment that’s new season Maris Pipers. Joanna’s, 56 Westow Hill, SE19 1RX (020 8670 4052) Crystal Palace or Gipsy Hill rail.
Fish CentralSmarter than your average chippy, Fish Central offers dishes such as pan-fried scallops with salsa verde alongside a menu of fish deep-fried in batter or matzo meal. The thick chips are cooked in vegetable or groundnut oil. Employ the bottles of malt vinegar on the melamine tables, or dollop on homemade tartare sauce.Fish Central, 149-155 Central St, EC1V 8AP (020 7253 4970) Old Street tube/rail.
Gourmet Burger KitchenWith 18 branches in London, Gourmet Burger Kitchen has blazed a smoky chargrilled trail in the burger trade, forcing the complacent competition upmarket and inspiring a raft of imitators. Surprisingly for a business of this size, the chips, which are cooked in vegetable oil, are never frozen, and the dipping sauces that they can be served with (garlic mayo, blue cheese, satay, chilli, barbecue, sour cream, and smoked chilli mayo) are all made on site. Gourmet Burger Kitchen, 45 Topsfield Parade, Tottenham Lane, N8 8PT (020 8347 5241/www.gbkinfo.com) Finsbury Park tube, then W7 bus. See website for more branches.
CoachThe Coach & Horses’ plates of tapered chips are served with a little dish of aïoli so powerful that it should probably be served with a government warning, though it doesn’t seem to have done any harm to the many Guardian and Observer journalists who frequent this Farringdon gastro-boozer. Along with plenty of garlic and lemon juice, the aïoli contains less egg yolk than many chefs would choose, and a 50:50 mixture of olive and vegetable oils. This, we’re told, is to make the aïoli most compatible with the chips, which it has been served with for the past five years.Coach & Horses, 26-28 Ray St, EC1R 3DJ (020 7278 8990) Farringdon tube/rail.
Santa MariaAt this Argentinian steak house, the papas fritas (big, fat chips!) are bought in frozen, but the result is sensational. Double-frying in vegetable oil makes them deliciously crisp and dry, just right for enjoying with the parrillada deluxe for two or d more – a grilled meat banquet incorporating prime Argentinian fillet steak, sirloin, pork sausages, black pudding and provolone cheese. You’ll need that bottle of malbec for the heart-friendly antioxidants. Santa Maria, 129 Queenstown Rd, SW8 3RH (020 7622 2088) Battersea Park or Queenstown Rd rail or 137, 156 bus.
The WallaceThe Wallace is secreted in the sculpture garden of the Wallace Collection in Marylebone. The chips here are so swish they don’t even carry the name French fries; they are pommes allumettes (matchstick potatoes). Head chef Thierry Laborde uses Maris Pipers, which are peeled and cut very finely by hand before being double-fried.The Wallace, Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1U 3BN (020 7563 9505) Bond St tube.
BarrafinaAt Time Out Towers we’ve spent a fair few minutes discussing whether Spain’s patatas bravas qualify as chips. Despite what cookery magazines may suggest, it is traditional to deep-fry the potatoes until they’re crisp and crunchy. The accompanying brava sauce – a piquant blend of tomato, paprika, chilli and garlic – is much of the point, however. At Barrafina, the potatoes are chip-shaped, but be warned, your pores may exude garlic for a week. Barrafina, 54 Frith St, W1D 4SL (020 7813 8016) Leicester Square tube.
22 Two Brothers Fish RestaurantThis smart, friendly chippy has been run by brothers Leon and Tony Manzi for many years. Top-notch, Billingsgate-bought seafood (including eels, cod’s roe, fishcakes, skate, oysters and mussels alongside the standard fish options) is served with great chips, made from Maris Pipers and splashed with proper vinegar (no non-brewed condiment here).Two Brothers Fish Restaurant, 297-303 Regent’s Park Rd, N3 1DP (020 8346 0469) Finchley Central tube.
Le CapriceSome would argue Le Caprice’s chips are even better than their hamburgers. The restaurant buys its chips from Solstice, a company founded in 1999 by Philip Britten, who was at the time one of the most admired chefs in the UK, holder of a Michelin star for eleven years for his cooking at The Capital in Knightsbridge. Le Caprice offers two types of chips – medium-cut and pommes allumettes – both of which are double-fried in vegetable oil and usually served with home-made tartare or béarnaise sauces. Le Caprice, Arlington House, Arlington St, SW1A 1RJ (020 7629 2239) Green Park tube.
50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1Groundnut is the oil of choice for this small chain of chippies. The potatoes are peeled, thick-cut and fried just once before serving with tartare sauce, mayonnaise or ketchup. Choose your fish from the large ice box at the end of the counter – the likes of whole sea bass, red snapper and gilthead bream are all cooked to order. At just £2 a serving, Joanna’s delicious hand-cut chips are a good-value addition to a meal at this popular Crystal Palace brasserie. Served in a porcelain dish that helps keep them hot, they’re fried in vegetable oil and made from whatever potatoes are best at the time – at the moment that’s new season Maris Pipers.