Happy Days – oily chips

I wanted fish and chips last Friday lunchtime but didn’t have time to walk over to award-winning Poppies at Spitalfields. What a dilemma hey.

An alternative option was to try Happy Days instead (reputedly where the only clue in the Jack the Ripper murders was found). Goulston Street Food Court was busy as ever although there wasn’t a queue at Happy Days, despite being #FishFryday lunchtime.

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Happy Days fish and chips shop – Goulston Street Food Court

Service was swift and polite. I ordered regular cod and chips and didn’t have to wait. They were already prepared and served up immediately. Being a sunny day, I sat outside and watched the world go by in the food market.

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Goulston Street Food Court – on a sunny day

The cod itself was fine although the batter was a little greasy so I left some. Not a biggie; I would eat the fish again from here.

But the chips were incredibly oily (without being soggy). They were crunchy yet absolutely saturated with oil (loads of oil oozed out when I pressed on the chips – they hadn’t been drained at all). Oil was the overpowering taste and left an unpleasant coating of lardy grease in my mouth, making them inedible. They got left.

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Cod and oily chips

Verdict: A portion of fish and chips from Happy Days just isn’t in the same league as those from Poppies of Spitalfields (less than five minutes away). It’s worth the walk.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 2.5 / 5
~ Type: British, fish and chips
~ Address: 44-46 Goulston Street, London
~ Postcode: E1 7TP
~ Nearest station: Aldgate, Aldgate East
~ Photos on flickr: images of Happy Days food
~ Location: Happy Days map

More East London dining:
~ Asta at Sozai – Japanese
~ Drift Bar – International
~ Fora – Mediterranean restaurant, City branch
~ Japanese Canteen – around the City
~ Momo’wich – Thai + Malaysian
~ Needoo Grill – BYOB Indian grilled meats
~ Poppies – fab fish + chips, East End

Happy Days on Urbanspoon

Poppies of Spitalfields – fab fish + chips

Poppies of Spitalfields is the national winner of the Independent Fish & Chip Restaurant of the Year Award, 2014 (not fish and chip shop – that award goes to Quayside in Whitby).

It’s no surprise then that there’s a queue out the door and along Hanbury Street this Friday lunch time, as people want to get their #FishFryday fix at this 1940s East End style restaurant (seems more like American diner theme now) complete with juke box.

There’s a shorter queue for the take-away counter so that’s where we head, given the sun’s come out and it’s finally nice enough to eat outside.

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Take-away counter

I order a regular cod (£6.50) and regular chips (£2.00), generously sprinkled with salt and vinegar (at my request), served up in ‘fake newspaper’ patterned paper and bag covered in a mish-mash of East End stories (including a ‘Jack The Ripper Body Found’ story about Annie Chapman, as well as the local blitz in WWII). Nice touch.

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East End newspaper patterned bag

We sit outside, by Spitalfields Market, to eat in the sunshine. The cod is succulent and the batter crispy (even if one side of fish skin has been left on) and the chips are perfect.

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Regular cod and chips from Poppies of Spitalfields

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Succulent cod

It’s a generous serving for a ‘regular’ – none of us manage to eat a full portion.

A top recommendation by D, Poppies is likely to become a regular #FishFryday haunt…

More Poppies menu options:


Seafood platter – @ £12.95


Grilled plaice @ £9.90


Restaurant + take-away info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Fish + chips, British, seafood
~ Address: 6-8 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, London
~ Postcode: E1 6QR
~ Tel: 020 7247 0892
~ e: info@poppiesfishandchips.co.uk
~ Nearest stations (overland + tube): Shoreditch High Street, Aldgate East, Whitechapel
~ Website: Poppies website
~ Spitalfields take-away menu: here
~ Photos on flickr: images of Poppies fish + chips
~ facebook page: Poppies on fb
~ National fish + chip awards: organised by Seafish UK
~ Location: Poppies restaurant map


More East London dining:
~ Asta at Sozai – Japanese ramen, katsu, don etc
~ Fora – Mediterranean restaurant, City branch
~ Japanese Canteen – around the City / East End
~ Momo’wich – outstanding Thai + Malaysian
~ Needoo Grill – BYOB Indian grilled meats

Poppies Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

Canteen – traditional British grub

Canteen serves hearty British food (from carefully sourced ingredients) and after a couple of drinks at the BFI cafe bar on Friday (another evening of incessant rain), that was just what me and L fancied.

We hadn’t booked but were fortunate enough to get a table that had just become available. It was 8pm, the start of the weekend and this branch of Canteen at the Royal Festival Hall was busy, as you’d expect.

Scotch egg

So we were greeted and seated immediately, and ordered a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc @ £19.00 from the ‘Good white wine’ list (as opposed to the ‘the great’, ‘our favourite’, and ‘brilliant white’ sections – all clearly laid out, in a says what it is on the tin kind of way) and a Scotch egg to nibble on as a shared starter.

The Scotch egg was simply divine – with a runny yolk centre and a crispy, crunchy crumb shell, served with piccalilli @ £3.75.

Haddock + chips – with mushy peas

For main course I had haddock and hand-cut chips with tartar sauce @ £13.75 (well it was #FishFryday after all and I’d been hankering after some good fish and chips all day – they were really crispy but not dry, and no oil in sight) with mushy peas @ £2.75, while L had slow cooked beef stew with stout, onions and glazed carrots @ £12.50 and chips @ £3.50.

Slow cooked beef

This was traditional, nourishing British food at its best – great quality food and reasonably priced too. Our total bill for two came to £62.16 including a 12.5% service charge (although – rather cheekily – the new server who brought us the bill asked us to please leave a cash tip as well, saying that waiting staff wouldn’t get the service charge already added to the bill).

Canteen bill for two

A good reminder that the old British favourites, when served well, can be great.

More of the menu

Pork belly

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: British
~ Address: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, London (+ several locations)
~ Postcode: SE1 8XX
~ Tel: 0845 686 1122
~ e: rfh@canteen.co.uk
~ Nearest station: Waterloo, Embankment
~ Website + menus: Canteen website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Canteen food
~ Location: Canteen South Bank map

More South Bank dining:
~ Oxo Tower restaurant – somewhat bland
~ Zen China – great riverside views

Canteen on Urbanspoon

Seafarers St Anne’s

Fresh fish and chips by the sea at St Anne’s

K and I have come to the Ribble Valley for a wedding this weekend and decided to tie in a trip to St Anne’s beforehand.

My grandparents lived in Lancashire, so we had many a family trip to the seaside here
when I was little. Having such fond memories of the beach-side trampolines, crazy golf, the paddling pool, Fairhaven boating lake, and playing in the big grassy sand dunes, I couldn’t wait to re-visit.

One of the first decisions to make yesterday was where to eat once we’d met up with mum and dad. Dining apps including TripAdvisor, Top Table, Just Eat and Tastecard all came in handy during yesterday’s motorway journey, but it was the new Gourmet Society app that came up trumps: it led me to Seafarers fish and chip restaurant.

Now, it can’t be disputed that fish and chips taste better in the salty air of the seaside. And one of the first conditions of this get-together trip was that fish and chips would be involved (referred to simply as FnC by my parents – this saves them *several hours* a week in conversational time).

So we drove past Seafarers on our way to the hotel. It looks like a fairly basic fish and chip shop and cafe from outside but it’s got some good online reviews (in the absence of its own website) and is currently ranked #17 of 102 restaurants in Lytham St Anne’s on Trip Advisor, so it was worth a gamble.

Fried calamari + battered haggis and black pudding

I’d booked a table for 7.30pm and the restaurant was packed. Our waitress was cheerful, helpful and energetic, and joked that she was in need of a breather (understandably) having been on her feet and busy since 11am. A good sign.

All day special: fish, chips + mushy peas

The Gourmet Society deal (and Tastecard too, for that matter) is 2-for-1 on up to three courses (cheapest dish is free, for a max of two people) – an amazing deal, given how very reasonably priced it is anyway.

For starters we shared fried calamari @ £4.25 and a portion of battered haggis and black pudding @ £4.45, something a bit different and pretty good too.

For main course, I had the all day special of fish (beautiful crisp light batter and meaty, flaky fish), chips and mushy peas @ £7.35; K had the same but extra large @ £8.95.

Big K had plain haddock and chips @ £6.25 (yes, £6.25! I think you’d struggle to find that size portion of haddock and chips to take-away for £6.25 in London, never mind dining in) and B had chicken breast and chips @ £6.75.

All day special extra large

Haddock + chips – the ‘plain old’ version (!)

Chicken breast + chips

The portions were huge; fish and chips were amazing – perfectly cooked, and such good value. It’s fair to say that I ate far too much but it was way too tasty to leave any.

And if fish and chips isn’t your thing, there are lots more offerings: from 100% Aberdeen Angus beef burgers and (proper Lancashire) meat pies to pizzas and jacket potatoes.

Mum and I both had a glass of house white wine (a medium dry which was a bit too sweet for me but went fine with all the fried food nonetheless) @ about £3.00 a glass, and K and Big K both had a pint of Boddingtons @ about £4.00.

The total bill for four came to £44 (that’s with one free starter and main course, and having added a 15% tip). £11.00 each – amazing. And stuffed to satisfaction.

How I could eat here every #fishandchipFriday.


Then… and now – hanging out in St Anne’s

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: British, fish and chips
~ Address: 341-343 Clifton Drive South, Lytham St. Anne’s
~ Postcode: FY8 1LP
~ Tel: 01253 722272
~ Nearest station: St Anne’s-On-Sea
~ Website: n/a
~ Menu: Sample menu
~ Photos on flickr: images of Seafarers food
~ Location: Seafarers map

More North-West dining:
~ Qzine – Mediterranean bistro in Clitheroe

Seafarers on Urbanspoon



Catford Chippy

Having to wait while a battered fish is cooked in front of you, fresh, can only be a good thing – it means you’re not getting some dried up fish that may have been fried hours/ days ago and kept warm since.

And that was the perfect scenario when we wandered into Catford Chippy earlier this evening, and ordered fish and chips twice, mushy peas and curry sauce with the two super helpful ladies working behind the counter. They asked if we’d mind waiting while they fried the fish and, on wrapping (coated in salt and vinegar of course) went to pain-staking lengths to differentiate the cod from the haddock for us (haddock’s wider at one end, almost triangular whereas cod’s long and narrow all the way down. Who knew? Certainly not me).

Catford Chippy is in a busy, central spot on Rushey Green – opposite Catford Broadway and the Broadway Theatre – and has a couple of tables with chairs (which makes for comfortable waiting, or you could eat in).

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Half a cod and chips

Theirs are *proper-fish-and-chip-shop* fish and chips: chips are nice and chunky, crisp enough on the outside and fluffy in the middle, without being at all greasy, while the fish (both cod and haddock alike) had no trace of grease (given they’re deep fried too); just flakey, moist white fish in crispy batter, filleted without a trace of any over-looked bones, and – very importantly – no skin.

It’s so disappointing if a fish has been fried, encased in its batter shell, without the skin being removed first (the delight of tearing open the parcel to get to the prize inner content turns quickly to annoyance if I have to unhelpfully pick off a layer of skin in the middle. Grrr etc).

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Haddock and chips

There are a few different fish on the menu including Rock and Hake (large size seem to vary between £5.00 and £5.30) as well as burgers, saveloy sausages and many more accompaniments.

~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: British, fish and chips
~ Address: 177-181 Rushey Green, Catford, London
~ Postcode: SE6 4BD
~ Tel: 020 8695 0050
~ Nearest train stations: Catford Bridge or Catford
~ Location: Catford Chippy map

Nearby dining:
~Catford Bridge Tavern
~El Poco Mexico

Best fish and chips:
~ Kennedy’s – Streatham Hill
~ Seafresh – Pimlico

Catford Chippy on Urbanspoon

Colman’s fish and chips – South Shields

Colman’s is a multi award-winning fish and chip shop/restaurant in South Shields.

After a stroll along the rugged north-east coast, there’s nothing better than satisfying your appetite with fish, chips and mushy peas here.

North Sea

There’s plenty of choice on the ‘newspaper wrapper’ styled menu, with catch of the day options including prime cod, extra large cod, haddock, plaice, lemon sole, gurnard, hake and pollock.

Menu styled on fish and chip ‘newspaper wrapper’

I choose the Colman’s feast @ £11.95: prime cod, thick cut chips, homemade mushy peas, glass of wine or lager, plus tea or coffee (with free re-fills).

Fish + chips at Colman’s

It’s a fairly small portion of chips (which is fine by me) and seriously good, flaky cod in crisp batter.

Colman’s of South Shields – big restaurant on Ocean Road

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: British, fish + chips
~ Address: 176 – 186 Ocean Road, South Shields, Tyne and Wear
~ Postcode: NE33 2JQ
~ Tel: 0191 456 1202
~ e: info@colmansfishandchips.com
~ Nearest station: South Shields metro
~ Website + menus: Colman’s website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Colman’s food
~ facebook page: Colman’s facebook page
~ Location: Colman’s on Ocean Road map


More North East dining:
~ Romano’s – Italian bistro in Cleadon Village

~ Cafe Bangla – fab Indian restaurant, East Boldon

~ Orangegrass – top Thai

Colmans on Urbanspoon

Seafresh Restaurant – simply amazing fish and chips


Best fish and chips in central London!

8oz haddock fillet (Peterhead and Grimsby) with chips @ £10.55 [update: £11.75 as of June 2013]

Good fish and chips are extremely hard to find in London, but Seafresh Restaurant in Pimlico is exceptional.

Serving fish fresh every day from Billingsgate (caught from Grimsby and the English coast) and direct from Peterhead in Scotland, there’s a substantial menu including haddock, cod, and plaice fillets as well as salmon, sardines, sea bream, calamari, fish cakes, etc and daily specials.

Fish is fried in rapeseed oil as standard, or you can choose to have it grilled for a £1 surcharge, or cooked on the bone if you don’t mind waiting about 20 minutes.

On this, my first visit, I ate in the cafe (there’s also an adjoining take-away shop) and had an 8oz haddock – perfectly cooked light, fluffy fish in crisp, freshly fried batter. And not a drop of oil in sight – simply beautiful. Given the freshness, quality and size of portions, this is great value, tasty food.

IMG_5380_Haddock at Seafresh
8oz haddock

Deep fried calamari, freshly caught from the English coast @ £11.10

It was a Friday lunchtime and understandably, all the tables filled up quickly (in addition to excellent fish, service is prompt and staff are sufficiently attentive).

Opening hours from Monday to Friday are 12.00pm-3.00pm and 5.00pm-10.30pm, and on Saturdays from 12.00pm-10.30pm.

Popular on Friday lunchtimes

Seafresh Restaurant, Wilton Road – quaint Pimlico street

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: British, fish and chips
~ Address: 80-81 Wilton Road, London
~ Postcode: SW1V 1DL
~ Tel: 020 7828 0747
~ Nearest station: Victoria, Pimlico
~ Website: Seafresh Restaurant website
~ Location: Seafresh Restaurant map

Nearby dining:
~ Pimlico Fresh
~ Seafresh
~ Taquitos Mexican Grill

Seafresh on Urbanspoon

Kennedy’s – best fish + chips south of the Thames


There was a long queue coming out of Kennedy’s this evening, with good reason. It’s just the weather for substantial food like fish, chips and pies today (cold and raining heavily) and Kennedy’s knows how to do them best.

I may have mentioned once or twice that good fish and chips are scarce in London, so when you do come across them, it’s all the more pleasing.

Perfect fish and chips from Kennedy’s

Kennedy’s fine pies, fish and chips (and more) shop, Leigham Court Rd

While the fish and pies are outstanding, the menu has other interesting options such as
~ Half a BBQ chicken served with salad + coleslaw or chips + curry sauce £5.95
~ Cod burger with salad and tartar sauce in a bap @ £3.00
~ 8oz steak burger chargrilled with cheese and salad in a bap @ £4.00

Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Streatham Hill area.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: British
~ Address: 5 Leigham Court Rd, Streatham, London
~ Postcode: SW16 2NS
~ Tel: 020 8769 1003
~ Nearest train station: Streatham Hill
~ Website: n/a
~ Location: Kennedy’s map

Kennedy's on Urbanspoon