Crispy and comforting – when done well, a plate of traditional British fish and chips is simply irresistable. Our critics have rounded up their favourite restaurants serving fish and chips in the capital. Do you agree with our choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.
There are restaurants you go to for the food, and restaurants you go to for a good time. Fish and Chip Shop is one of the latter. It’s the solo venture of Des McDonald, who was once head chef at The Ivy before rising through the ranks to become CEO of Caprice Holdings (J Sheekey, Scott’s, and so on). Suffice to say, he knows a thing or two about fish. So we were a little surprised that our meal didn’t make a bigger splash. It started well. Plump and sweet, the prawns in our ‘cocktail’ lounged on a pile of posh greens (pea shoots and the like) with a light, tangy marie rose sauce.Read more
Though your waistband might complain, your conscience need not as all the fish at this great little London chippy are sustainably sourced, with coley topping the bill. And that ethical alternative to haddock and cod is popular for good reason: it more than passed muster, with flaky and tender flesh beneath a perfect honey-coloured batter. The twice-fried chips were good too: chunky yet crisp. Perhaps the chilli and garlic sauce on our whole bream was a little overpowering, but only because the fish beneath was delicately fresh, and in no need of adornment.Read more
Although this looks like a London cabby’s chip shop, its adherents are far more widespread. Every lunchtime, businessmen, hungry locals and passing trade wander into this blast from the city’s culinary past. Furnishings don’t seem to have changed much in the 50-plus years since fish were first fried here. It’s a cosy little spot, with Formica-topped tables, long benches and an old-school menu up on the wall. New restaurants may try to recreate this ‘retro’ look, but Fryer’s is effortlessly genuine. Even Giuseppe, the Italian boss who’s been frying in London for the past 45 years, is a no-frills man; he claims not even to like fish, but he certainly knows how to fry it.Read more
In 2014, the Golden Hind will celebrate 100 years of providing solid fish suppers to the residents of Marylebone – almost as long as the dish has been in existence. It’s therefore no surprise that the kitchen team have their craft well honed. Our haddock was exceptional, with a light, wonderfully grease-free batter. Chips were chunky, less well done than the norm, but crisp and fresh-tasting (if not quite melt-in-the-mouth on the inside). Perfectly seasoned mushy peas were a treat, and provided more than just a splash of colour on the plate.Read more
Cast an eye over the menu and it’s evident that Golden Union can talk the talk – fish delivered daily from sustainable waters, grade-A potatoes, a combo of two frying oils changed at least four times a week, and freshly made beer batter. The point is, it can walk the walk too. Fish is chunky, flaky and perfectly cooked in a light, crispy, complementary casing; chips are crisp, firm and fluffy; pies and fish cakes are own-made and look it – there seems to be no weak point. Decide to eat-in and the top-of-the-range large cod and chips will set you back £12.95. Side dishes are priced at the expensive end of the scale. The decor is retro with a knowing wink: tiled walls, plastic-topped wooden tables and chairs, and plastic tomatoes filled with ketchup. The music is up to date and not too intrusive, combining well with the busy atmosphere – and the vibe is maintained by young staff who seem genuinely proud of what they’re serving. Chances are you’ll be planning your return visit before you’ve even paid the bill.Read more
Perched at the zenith of London-based fish and chippery, Kerbisher & Malt works within pretty tight strictures. There are, after all, only so many possible variations on the theme of deep-frying seafood and potatoes. Hence, the kitchen team tweak every stage of the process to make the food as appealing as possible. This means high-quality fillets dunked in floaty-light batter, cooked freshly to order. Chips are double-fried, the tartare sauce is rich and made in-house, and the onion rings have been ‘pickled’, adding an appealing vinegar tang. So committed are the owners to transparency that they’ve installed a CCTV screen to allow punters in the dining room to watch the chefs slicing haddock and mushing peas.Read more
Frills there aren’t, but this white- and blue-fronted spot often produces gasps of delight at the sheer freshness and just-so cooking of its fish. The second thing you need to know is that batter’s off the menu: it’s matzo, or matzo and egg, if you want the fish fried. Portions are generous and fillets of cod or haddock typically stretch off each side of the plate. Lemon sole – in other hands a pretty ordinary species – was a sweet, minerally feast, sensitively grilled on the bone. Anything other than chips and simple salad on the side would have got in the way. Matzo-crusted halibut, a golden orange cutlet of meaty white flesh, was similarly fresh and accurately cooked.Read more
Poppies’ pick and mix assortment of shiny British kitsch – including a jukebox, mini red telephone box and a monochrome photo of heart-throb Cliff Richard – makes it look like a simulation of a fish and chip shop. The food on the plate is also better than the real thing. The Billingsgate-sourced fish is so fresh that diners are offered the option of having it grilled as well as fried. Extending beyond the staples of cod and haddock, the menu encompasses mackerel, seafood platters and jellied eels. Lemon sole was simple, crisply battered and matched well with Meantime London ale, while chips were irresistible.Read more
The dark-wood panelled interior probably seemed retro when Toff’s was established back in 1968. This Muswell Hill stalwart is a true one-off; the corporate slickness comes from being a long-established family business that knows what it’s doing and knows that people like it. Little changes here, but we were pleased to note that, unlike many London chippies, the business has joined the Marine Stewardship Council and sources fish from sustainable stocks. Fish is cooked to order and batter is the norm; egg and matzo, or grilling, bring a surcharge.Read more
Hook Camden Town
Venue says: New location opening in Brixton very soon... Hook Crew x
Hook will make you feel as if you’re at the seaside. The simple, maritime-themed furnishings are reminiscent of a beach hut. The walls are painted blue like sea and sky. And, as on any seaside visit, you’ll be eating fish and chips. But not just any old fish and chips. Forget about slabs of grey flesh in thick, greasy body bags of batter. Think instead sea bass in a lime, mint and wasabi batter, applied sparingly; think Cajun spiced hake; think cod in a ‘classic’ batter made of panko – Japanese breadcrumbs. Barely a hint of grease in either one, and fish perfectly cooked: juicy and tender. The menu changes daily. Hook gets some of its fish from Cornish day boats; catches vary day by day. Some other fish are farmed, and they’re not afraid to use lesser-known species such as gurnard and ling. The catch makes it to NW1 speedily, and is served very fresh. Side dishes on our visit included a tasty celeriac slaw and a salad with samphire. We got a sampler plate of all their sauces, and they’re good, but the battered fish is so fine that it doesn’t need anything else. If you want vinegar for your chips, you’ll get a dinky atomiser of the sherry variety: classy. Our deep-fried rounds of potato tasted great, but needed a bit more chippy crunch. The drinks list is basic, but a small selection of bottled beers should do the trick. You may find a family at the next table, or a group of friends celebrating in sybaritic style. Camden Town is rapidly learning that it does like to be bes
Tell us your favourites!
We want to know what your favourite London restaurant is for fish'n'chips and, of course, what makes it so good. Leave your answers in the comments below!
We're starting a new weekly feature dedicated to honest recommendations from real Londoners. Share your wisdom, and fame could await...