London has gone mad for the 'posh chippy' in recent years with countless new openings – including a venture by legendary restaurateur Des McDonald (see below).
But let us not forget, amidst the excitement for triple-cooked contemporary chips, the traditional chippy – those custodians of our national dish where gnarled cod glisten under heated lights and fat, salty chips are scooped and papered up as they have been for centuries.
There is, of course, a time and a place for both. And so, featuring the best of the trendy and the traditional, we present our seven favourite London chippies. Enjoy.
Shaking things up on Upper Street is the newly opened ‘posh chippie’ by Des McDonald, former CEO of Caprice Holdings. Fresh (never frozen), line and hook caught cod, plaice, haddock and Pollock can be grilled or fried in The Fish & Chip Shop’s own recipe batter, made with local Camden Beer.
Hand cut chips, starters of scallops in the half shell served with chilli and garlic and Isle of Man crab on toast with avocado – not to mention puddings of sloe gin jelly and burnt chocolate cream – boost the bourgeois credentials of this place even more. Knock back a glass of the house blend red or white and you’re sure to be one happy chip.
189 Upper St, London, Greater London N1 1RQ
We might be biased as this is our local, but with its retro décor of tiled walls and tomato shaped ketchup dispensers Billy Drew’s Golden Union encapsulates the traditional British chippy. Their homemade beer batter is light, and the fish (they only stock sustainable Norwegian cod and haddock from the clear waters of the Barents Sea) tender and flaky. Make sure to order a side of their legendary mushy peas.
38 Poland Street, London W1F 7LY
Thanks to fine dining expert and ex-Oxo Tower chef Saul Reuben and his brother-in-law Nick Crossley, Kerbisher & Malt is fish and chips done properly. The freshly battered cod is flaky, pearly white and perfectly cooked. Lemon mayonnaise is unctuously, gloopily delicious (like the tartare and regular mayonnaise, it’s homemade). The chips taste earthily of potato, managing to be both crunchy and fluffy.
Alternative battered brilliance comes in the form of crispy calamari, whitebait and fish finger butties. Enjoy in the trendy, minimal interior – and expect to share your table.
164 Shepherds Bush Road, London, W6 7PB / 53 New Broadway, London, W5 5AH
Come 2014, this long-adored establishment will have been plying the good people of Marylebone with fish suppers for 100 years. Go for the grease-free but perfectly battered haddock and glorious mushy peas.
73 Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2PN
Sitting bang next to the Fish! restaurant in its prime Borough Market location, this chippy outlet does a fine line in crispy superbness. Cod, haddock, plaice and skate sit along pickled samphire, onions, eggs and gherkins, whilst mackerel baps and chip butties are on-the-move food par excellence. You can even enjoy one of their feasts in your pants – they deliver in the area.
Cathedral Street, Borough Market, London, SE1 9AL
As well as battered coley or haddock, this fish-lover’s dream does whole rainbow trout, prawn and chorizo kebabs and squid with chilli and garlic. Pick a piece of fish from the wet counter, and expert staff advise on how to have to cooked.
189 St John's Hill, Clapham Junction, SW11 1TH / 57 Clapham High Street, SW4 7TG
A stone’s throw from Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, The Laughing Halibut is a popular haunt for both local workers and tourists. With generous portions and prices that won’t break the bank, it’s no wonder the queue snakes out the door everyday.
Although most people have theirs to go, owner Mustafa Raif recommends sitting at the back of the shop to enjoy the freshly battered cod (from Billingsgate Market) while it's still hot. He’s been there 31 years so he knows what he’s talking about.
38 Strutton Ground, London SW1P 2HR