Dating back to the 19th Century, fish and chips have become an iconic part of British culture. This delicious dish normally consists of battered and deep fried cod served with a generous portion of chips seasoned with salt and vinegar. Often they are complemented by a side serving of gravy, mushy peas, ketchup, curry sauce or tartar sauce.
Fish and Chips in Britain
Fish and chip shops (informally known as “chippies”) are a common sight in Britain’s coastal resorts and other towns and cities, frequently operating as takeaways but sometimes with a restaurant attached. Traditionally speaking, the food was once wrapped in newspaper but nowadays you can expect a polystyrene box or kitchen paper, along with a wooden fork.
This delicious meal remains hugely popular in the UK, with hundreds of millions of portions being sold every year. Its popularity can be put down to the chunky chips that should be crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, or the tender fish with a tasty batter coating. While ‘fish and chips’ tends to refer to cod, there are now many alternatives available, such as pollock, haddock and plaice. Chippies also offer traditional foods like saveloy, burgers or meat pies and can even double as kebab shops.
British coastal towns are usually home to the most popular fish and chips shops, as the meal is seen as part of the experience of going to the seaside. From central London, towns such as Hastings, Margate and Southend-on-Sea are around 90 minutes’ drive away.
Fish and Chips in London
Of course this famous dish isn’t restricted to the coast. Almost every town has at least one chip shop, and London is no exception. They can often be found alongside Chinese, Indian and other international cuisine on shopping streets in the capital’s various neighbourhoods, representing the cosmopolitan air of this modern city.
In Muswell Hill, North London, is Toff’s. This restaurant has a takeaway and a regular menu with a huge choice of fish, ranging from cod to Dover sole. They also grill fish on request for the health-conscious customer. The closest tube station is Highgate on the Northern Line.
The Golden Hind in Marylebone, just off Oxford Street, is another highly-rated establishment with a history running back to 1914. It promises everything you would expect with the odd touch of Mediterranean flair thanks to its Greek owners.
Even closer to Oxford Street is Golden Union Fish Bar on Poland Street. Comprising a real hidden gem in an area usually packed with tourists, this fish and chip shop comes highly recommended for its pleasant retro interior and excellent battered fish. Oxford Street is easily reachable on the London Underground, the two restaurants being served by Bond Street and Oxford Circus stations respectively.
The Independent newspaper has compiled a list of the country’s 50 best fish and chip shops, so have a browse for something that catches your eye in London or maybe even plan a day trip to the coast and see what else is on offer. Rent an apartment with Localnomad London and take the chance to try this mouth-watering dish from a local chippy. Enjoy!