Des McDonald (Ex CEO of Caprice Holdings who own The Ivy, Scott’s and J.Sheekey, amongst many others) has opened The Fish and Chip Shop in Islington. It’s not your standard chippy however, as it’s done out rather beautifully inside.
There were two petite dining rooms to choose from; the first had small tables tightly packed together and the second out the back, which is where we were seated, had equally cramped booths. Even though we were squished, the whole place had a great atmosphere which was helped by the loud music and chitter chatter of fellow diners.
To start, the battered tiger prawns (£9.25) weren’t particularly cheap but the quality and their cooking were sublime; fat and juicy with a thin, crisp batter. They were served with the heads still attached, which gave them more of an attractive appearance to that of your bog standard deep fried prawns.
The prawn cocktail (£8.50) tasted as fresh and zingy as it gets; crisp lettuce, generously sized prawns and a light squirting of tangy Marie Rose sauce. Tried and tested combinations expertly executed.
The London particular fritters (£6) were a generous portion to say the least – our friend could barely finish them on her own. It was basically a pea and ham hock fritter, which sadly lacked any flavouring of the latter ingredient. The vibrantly green filling tasted of pea and only pea.
For main I went for the Camden Hell’s battered cod (£9.75) which was impressively crispy – I’ve never had fish in such a crunchy and greaseless batter. Inside was soft, flakey fish which was far from dry or overcooked. The accompanying chunky tartare sauce was brilliant too. My friend, who went for the same seemed to have a smaller portion though, which was a slight shame – for him.
Fresh cut chips (£3) tasted exactly that – fresh. They were brilliantly crispy too. They were unseasoned though, which was perhaps intentional, as there was salt and vinegar (proper Sarson’s vinegar too) on the table.
The battered saveloy (£6.75) came chopped into three and was served with a nice and spicy mustard dip. The batter was, as we’d come to expect, crisp and grease free and the sausage had the perfect amount of oiliness and spice.
We couldn’t help but order a pickled wally and a pickled onion (£1 each) – both did their tangy job brilliantly. I do love a pickled Wally (that’s a gherkin FYI).
We were stuffed so all shared the best sounding dessert; sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream (£5.50). Well, what can I say, it was simply divine and couldn’t be faulted – I’ve never enjoyed a sponge pudding quite so much. And anything with clotted cream is always going to get my vote!
What I liked about the Fish and Chip Shop was its simplicity – and with that you have to get it perfect – and they really did. The service was wonderful too; friendly and efficient and actually better than I was expecting for a restaurant serving battered fish. It ticked all the boxes for a fun filled night out and I shall definitely be returning.