You’d be forgiven for striding past Golden Union without a second glance. Pitched between Oxford Street and deepest Soho, its simple white frontage and red neon sign make it easy to miss. A frying cupboard in the window hides the charmingly retro dining room at the back, which, complete with a red and burgundy chequered floor, white tiled walls and soft, low-hanging lighting, feels more breezy American diner than Central London chippie. There’s even a jukebox, which the staff are constantly rebooting with tunes (diners are too happily involved in their food, which can only ever be a good thing).
Provenance is king here: they promise they can trace all their fish, which is sustainably sourced from Scotland, Norway and the North Atlantic, back to the very boat it was caught on. A hefty ‘small’ cod (£13.95) had flaky yet buttery flesh and was beer battered to crispy perfection, while a hulking battered hake was pleasantly sweet (£15.50). Mains all come with a moreish mound of chips, made from Grade A East Anglian spuds. The pledge to use two types of oil, changed four times a week is evident, as nothing was overly greasy or heavy. Ideal really, because the sides –think deeply nutty mushy peas and girthy gherkins – are worth making room for.
Special mention goes to the surreal fake foliage-filled window at the back. Underlit and spotlighted, it just the right side of naff. Clientele is a mix of tourists and locals, many of whom stick around long after they’ve polished off the last blob of tartare sauce. With a fancy range of craft beers, cocktails, wines and softs and old-school soft-scoop ice cream sundaes, it’s hard to find a chink in Golden Union’s armour. Drop by for slap-up dinner - and commandeer that jukebox while you wait.