It's Friday, what better day to turn our minds to that most glorious of combinations - battered fish and salted fried potatoes. We've scoured the land to find the masters of the art, starting with this rundown of the eight best traditional chippies.
8 The Golden Union, London
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 www.goldenunion.co.uk
7 Fish & Chips at 149, Bridlington
To look at 149, a clean and efficient chippy, set in a parade of shops on an unremarkable road in the seaside town of Bridlington, you would not expect gastronomic glory. What you get, though, is something pretty close. Behind closed doors, hours before it opens, owners Tracy Poskitt and Matthew Silk are skinning and boning their line-caught haddock; then they prep the beef-dripping batter and chip the locally grown Maris Piper potatoes. 149 Marton Road, Bridlington, East Yorkshire fishandchipsat149.co.uk
6 The Laughing Halibut, London
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 its still hot. He’s been there 31 years so he knows what he’s talking about. 38 Strutton Ground, London SW1P 2HR
5 Cobo Fish & Chip Bar, Guernsey
The locals don't queue up to admire the aesthetics of this nicotine-yellow corrugated iron shack but rather to get their hands on the daily catch: the Channel Islands have the best, freshest fish in the UK. Grab your crisply-battered plaice or haddock, hop over the sea wall, and watch the sun set right in the centre of this pristine cove. Cobo, Castel, Guernsey (+44 1481 254 276)
4 Hanbury’s Famous Fish & Chip Shop
Hanbury’s vintage shelves are cluttered with awards that the family-run fish and chip shop has accumulated over the last three decades. The restaurant and takeaway is minutes away from the beautiful Babbacombe Downs, which attracts thousands of tourists each year. It is here that you can sit on a bench with your fish and chips and admire the breathtaking Lyme Bay. It doesn’t get much better than that. Princes Street, Babbacombe, Torquay, Devon TQ1 3LW www.hanburys.net
3 Anstruther Fish Bar, Anstruther
Owner Robert Smith comes from a family of Scottish trawlermen. With colour-blindness preventing him from joining the family business, he left his brother to skipper the family boat Argonaut 4 and bought up Anstruther Fish Bar with his wife Alison instead. Unsurprisingly, his Fife shop gets the cream of the catch, so specials change depending on what’s come off the quayside. We recommend the award-wining haddock and chips, although battered haggis is always an option (yes, really).
42-44 Shore Street, Anstruther, Fife anstrutherfishbar.co.uk
2 The Golden Galleon, Aldeburgh
Opinion divides over which is better, Aldeburgh Fish & Chip Shop or its sibling restaurant, The Golden Galleon. <Esquire> columnist Giles Coren and TV’s Dermot O’Leary both rate the latter, and we’re inclined to agree. The ingredients — east coast fish and Suffolk potatoes — are prime. The food’s cooked to order, and the sea wall on which to eat your fish and chips (essential for full enjoyment) is a mere pebble’s throw away. aldeburghfishandchips.co.uk
And the winner is...
1 Colmans, South Shields
Colmans is the coastal town chippy you remember from childhood, and it’s brilliant. Run by Richard and Frances, the fourth generation of Colmans to fry fish at South Shields, it’s all white-tiled walls and chalk boards showing the catch of the day. Colmans, whose impressive fan base includes Bill Bryson, Alison Steadman and Lord Mandelson was rated best in the UK at The National Fish & Chip Awards in 2011.
182-186 Ocean Road, South Shields, Tyne and Wear colmansfishandchips.com