I have been to The Old White Lion, exactly 11 months ago, 15 August 2015. What 11 months make difference, I never imagined that the Brexit was coming. Since 23 June, I have lost the direction of my love to Fish and Chips. But hey, fish and chips brought me a personal triumph just before 23 June, surely it will cheer me up.
Last year, it was “sustainably caught hake in a cider batter with pea puree, tartare & chip shop chips £11.50”. And! I am paying 75p more this year. This is whopping 7% up, well above the UK inflation rate of 0.5% (year on year in June 2016).
Is this because; 1) fish is upgraded from hake to cod 2) fish was previously just “sustainably caught” but now is “line caught” 3)” chip shops chips” is upgraded to just “chips”?
- Fish 4/10 : It was far too greasy. What you need are a little higher oil temperature and a minute more on drain before serving. Skin off from fish, obviously less flavour (may offset the hake->cod upgraded effect). Good thing was I could not taste suspicious addition to the batter (so what is the point?). Worst feature was TOO SMALL FISH!!!!
- Chips 4/10 : nothing special frozen chips. I rather have “chips shop chips”.
- Pea puree 4/10 : I had to slash the rating due to discrepancy in menu description. This is not puree, it is “roughly crushed” pea. Actually, taste was nice.
Overall it was a disappointing “everything is mediocre” dish. I am not sure this can justify 7% inflation-busting price hike (despite various speculation in rationale of price hike). Most importantly, my dear old British friend, Fish and Chips, on this occasion, was not good enough to shake off my post Brexit depression.
However, I will, I will continue my fish and chips journey. Good night!
I am soooo happy. I never have felt so motivated and rewarded throughout my academic + professional career (are there?). Just in case you have missed the important announcement, I just won the Not Just Another Food Blogger Awards 2016 by the hungryhouse! Hooray!!!!
Mina and the team are celebrating this achievement in style with Fish and Chips at The Black Horse, Barnet, EN5 4BW. This is also a team bonding event.
One of my friend from OZ recently told me that nobody drinks Fosters in Australia. She said it is a drink for chuv. Is this true?
£11.95 is not bad for a posher suburb. When I saw Skin on chips, I read Skin on cod, of course, I was over excited for 2 seconds.
However, a big however,
In my country, when foods drip as this sort of sticky, “drawn yarn” often means gone off (or fermented). It tasted horribly, unnaturally, sharply and excessively sour. Very strange texture. Quite frankly, I could not tasted any more than 3 tries.
- Fish: 5/10. Piping hot but regrettably too greasy batter, all you need is to rest 1 more minute on the draining paper. Fish was ever so slightly undercooked.
- Chips: 4/10. Nothing special frozen chips but not hot enough. I suspect chips are cooked in big batch for other menu items (e.g., burger and chips, chicken skewers and chips like my next table). My chips must have been cooked too long before my fish cooked. The difference of temperature on those was too much.
- Peas: 6/10 Nicest of all when I had in my mouth at first. Nice green colour too. It was smoothly mashed and buttery. However, it was not minty or crushed. For the discrepancy with the menu description, I cannot award more points.
Overall, disappointing 3/10. I have to deduct a lot of points for suspected gone off unnaturally, sharply and sour tartar sauce.
A bit disaster for our celebration + team bonding evening.
£4.50…I knew I will be out tonight for Fish and Chips, I knew it may cost me as much as 3 times more. Fish and Chips should not be priced as much in any circumstance and location. As a dish, how much more extra value could you add this simple but gorgeous dish? I have experienced disastrous over twisting such as tarragon in batter.
However, price will continuously hike as long as an idiot like me continuously paying for it…..
The important announcement from the Fish and Chips critic.
Dear my fans,
I am proudly announcing that I received “Not Just Another Food Blogger Awards 2016” from The hungryhouse.
For relatively inactive my blog to receive this award is significant. It is like a small country pub restaurant in a remote countryside receives 2 Michelin stars.
What is more, I am a legal immigrant who has adapted my love of this Great British Fish and Chips in later in my life. It is an acquired taste without any sentimental childhood memories. It may mean I can be ruthlessly critical at the time. This, in turn, makes me a better Fish and Chips Critic.
Me and my team thank the panel for awarding us for this honour. Without my fans, I am not here today.
Me and my team are committed to continuously deliver high standard of independent and SUBJECTIVE review.
The award winning Fish and Chips Critic (AKA Fish and Chips Ambassador)
Special Bank Holiday report from Fish and Chips critic, from Sunny Kent coast, Uuuuuu, exciting!
We walked from Margate, Broadstairs then to Ramsgate, all the way via beautiful coast line, it was impressive just over 14km!!!! We obviously deserve our 1,000kcal lunch.
After patiently queuing for 15 minutes, we were close to the ordering counter.
Staff were all working tirelessly, handling very stressful situation very well. Keep smiling, apologising all for waiting. All queuing customers were also behaving well. This must be the bank holiday effect, impressive!
My head was panicking with hunger, I can’t tell you exact price, but we paid just over £8 for 2 small fishes (but easily medium in pubs) and 1 large chips. It felt expensive side. But I must say,
- Fish 8/10. Delicious! Batter well integrated to the chunky juicy cod, so shame you took skin off. Colour between yellow and gold, crunchy but not greasy. Steamy hot but oil well drained. How did they manage while having streaming orders. Amazing!
- Chips 8/10 Again, not too greasy. I often find chips from chippie can be too greasy, but this wasn’t.
In pubs, “beer battered” is usually one of the selling points, along with “line caught” “sustainable” blah blah blah. Today, my experience raise a question, is it necessary to be beer battered? What makes it so special? Does it make colour slightly darker? What is the significance? This gives me an another direction in critic.
10 minutes later…
Large fish and chips take away for £4.50….. no queues. Some diners in the shop.
If we were there for one more day, I would definitely try, then I could, compare and contrast for famous vs infamous.
Anyway, this is an another direction too. Watch the space!
Hello. As I was so impressed with Café Rouge a few weeks ago, I decided to go back there to test their consistency. Yes, consistency. Again and again, I have been let down by many places. But I have a high hope. This is a national chain, surviving for so long, keep evolving since 1989, while their peers such as “Dome” disappearing (for those who remember!!). And of course, as a savvy critic (my new nickname), I got a 50% off main course voucher again, thank you VoucherCodes.co.uk! To test the true consistency, we went back to the same venue, Highgate.
Hooray, Poisson Frites for £6.50 (£13 full price, at the time of ordering, they did not know we will submit the voucher at the end, hehehe).
Quite frankly, I remember my disappointment at first bite. Overall it felt greasy. I am afraid this is all I can say, I am being honest here, because I have forgotten small details by now!
BTW, can somebody tell me, is anybody actually pay full billing price in Café Rouge?
I certainly will be back to try again, and to report straight away, with some sort of voucher firmly on my hand.
Happy Friday, I am celebrating my beloved Friday with, of course, Fish and Chips. Today, I am doing something slightly different, a British soul food, Fish and Chips at French (chain) bistro, Café Rouge. One of my colleague told me she had one on Thursday night and and was mildly praising. I must do (copy) this. Conveniently, Voucher Codes sent me a voucher of 50% main courses at Café Rouge. Yey!
£13 is top end of what I pay these days in pubs. I went Café Rouge so many times in the past but never gave any attention to Poisson Frites. But who does!?
- Fish 9/10. Wow what a surprise. Fish was slightly firm and dry but it is because the fish was hake, not because of the way of cooking. Having skin on makes such a difference in terms of flavour. It gives more depth together with hot crunchy golden batter, skin, and firm flesh when munching. Not giving full mark only because I could not taste “mustard” in batter (though I could see mustard grains), what is the significance of having mustard in the batter.
- French fries 9/10. Delicious, crunchy AND already seasoned perfectly. Not too salty but enough to bring out of the sweetness and warmth of potatoes.
- Pea shoots….sorry no score on pea shoots, what is the point of this? Yes I ate them, taste of weed… as Michel Roux Jr says at Master chef, don’t put anything on the plate which you cannot eat!
Overall 9/10 despite pea cock ups, you have made a massive impression to Fish and Chips critic. Don’t ever underestimate French! Even better, I had 50% off, costed me an impressive £6.50. THANK YOU Café Rouge!
Good evening, I am tasting tonight at Simpsons Fish and Chips, Cheltenham. This is not ordinary Fish and chips, it is UK’s No.1 Fish and Chips Takeaway award 2016 by the SEAFISH, the authority of the seafood (who are you?).
£6.90 is cheap compared to £13.00 (of course), I paid 2 days ago (see my last post), but it is not cheap for takeaway. But hey, here is the No. 1 in the whole country.
Often I wonder, how genuine and credible is this hygiene rate? How long ago this was awarded? How often is this reviewed? The other day, I saw a little cafe putting a photocopied sign. If you do that, would you be prosecuted?
- Fish 6/10 This cannot be the No.1 in the whole country. Yes it was take away so some of the crunchiness of the batter had lost, which is OK. But fish was dry, and ah, no skin! how disappointing. Also what is so special about this batter? Or may be I am used to “beer battered”?
- Chips 8/10. They are good! proper chips, love them! Strong potato taste, hit my stomach spot in this cold night! Yey!
Overall 6/10, did not leave me massive impression. Shame!
Is this just me thinking, how come you can give an award for 2016 already, it is only March, we have some 9 months to go this year, anything can happen in the world of Fish and Chips!
This experience taught me I have to broaden my horizon to take away world. Then one day, I may be able to be a panel of National Fish and Chips awards. I now see my career goal.
Good evening all! It has been over 3 months since I had my last fish and chips. I have been having rest from it, to give a rest to my palate. So that I can continue to be a reliable critic. The Riverfront, here is the important place for me, the birth place of Fish and Chip critic, as I explained before.
I am smiling but when I saw this pint, I knew it is sub-optimal pint. Just looks flat and it tasted flat. I had this experience before in here. Very disappointing. To be fair, the second pint was perfect. For not be able to provide the important consistency, 5/10.
FISH & CHIPS, Beer battered haddock fillet, mushy peas & tartare sauce, £13.oo. Same price as 14 months ago, nice of you, not reflecting inflation but still not cheap!!
- FISH 7/10. No skin! why! Any fish eating nation knows skin (descaled!) is tasty part of fish. Though it was firm yet juicy.
- Chips. 0/0 Because they are not chips, these are french fries. I had similar experience before at elsewhere. I can now assure you that fish and french fries are not same as fish and chips we know. French fries are so much thinner, which means larger surface area make them so much greasier experience as a whole dish. Not a fan.
- Mushy peas 0/10. The worst mushy peas ever. To start with, served tiny amount in a plastic cup. This was almost hard, strange vinegary after taste. Very strange taste. Yak!
You may think why I go back same place again. But tonight proved that even in the same place, food changes (including presentation) periodically. I will also look at consistency too. Overall 4/10 (lost points due to no rating on chips and terrible mushy peas), previously scored overall 6/10 (Oct 14). I gave you enough areas to work on!
My journey continues, Good night!
Hello from Lancashire, updating the report from the event over a week ago. I am sure we all have a moment, “oh I have to update my blog (or whatever you have to do)” then, “oh I do XXX (such as sorting out old clothes for charity shop donation, mmm urgent!)” then turning into “I do anything but”.
Anyway, nobody cares my report except me. So I still do it!
Looking to escape from the rain, conveniently we were in front of The Golden Lion in Ormskirk, Lancashire. Fancy a fish and chips, less than 10 miles from the sea, here we are at a little pleasant market town, I can expect good home cooking.
…OK, Codfather….. I have seen a few takeaway shops with this name. Ah, then they are specialists! I may be able to expect the excellence.
1 Fish 0/10. Very thin look fish. Hot outside but cold/lukewarm inside. No skin on fish, no taste. Terrible texture inside, fish was not cooked properly. As you are eating, this is getting worse.
2. Chips 3/10. A standard frozen chip. Nothing else to say. At least they were hot and cooked throughout.
3. Peas 3/10. A standard frozen peas. A microwave job.
Total 2/10. This is one of the worst fish I ever tasted. In fact, now thinking about it put me off from ordering Fish and chips in the pub.
Also, what I noticed with the Masterchef professional in the current series is that almost all chefs from “gastro pubs” do really badly. Check their performance in “the mean skill test” + “the invention test” (they don’t usually go beyond these test). It does put me off eating in the gastro pub….
To be fair, the Golden Lion does not advocate as a “gastro pub”. You are selling home cooked food with discount. I am questioning to myself, am I right to criticise for something given with 30% discount?
I hope to see you soon when I recover from this bad experience.
Hehehe, I am doing something naughty, going out for Fish and Chips + beers on a school night. Funny how you still feel guilty (just me?) well into your adulthood…
Anyway, we are at The Three Crowns @hip Stoke Newington. It has to be good reason to go out on a school night.
The menu reads well, “Cornish ale buttered fish & chips w/mushy peas & tartar sauce -£11.95. Good pricing for hip part of Hackney. It is even better as this is essentially £6.50 per person, Hooray!
- Fish 5/10. Delicious fish, juicy, steamy hot, batter is unusually thin but crunchy, well integrated with fish. This reminded me “tempura” batter. Just soooo disappointed with the size of fish.
- Chips 7/10. Shame it was not as hot as fish which leaves some sense of discomfort in the mouth (feels like being cheated, make sense?). Slightly overcooked though cannot say it was bad chips in terms of taste.
- Mushy peas 1/10. Absolutely substandard. The horrible brown colour. No taste.
Overall disappointing 5/10, largely due to kiddy’s portion. Felt totally mislead it is not get one buy another for £1. Rather, get 1/2 portion for 1/2 price.
However, I would happily pay full price for the quality for fish providing I will get a proper man’s portion. Then, I sort of lost trust in you. Who to say this was 1/2 portion, there is always a risk that I pay £11.95 then still get kiddy’s portion.
When I got home, I had a binge chocolate session as I was still hungry. Made me feel really guilty, school night out + chocolate binge….
Going out on a school night was not good idea after all….
Hello hello hello Friday, tonight at The Orange Tree in Totteridge, continuing my Fish and Chips study.
Let’s not mess about, the only reason I am here tonight is Fish and chips, here we are, Beer-battered line-caught cod with twice-cooked chunky chips, minted pea purée and tartare sauce
- Fish 10/10. Delicious!!!! Skin is on, which is always good sign, fresh, juicy and flavoursome. Batter perfectly coated fish, not too thick, not too thin, well integrated with fish. A fantastic texture, does not feel greasy at all until the last bite. No strange twists (i.e., herbs in batter) as this kind of pretentious places commonly apply to their foods.
- Chips 10/10 OMG. They are divine. Again, a fantastic texture, crunchy outside, perfectly fluffy inside, packed with absolute fresh, honest potato flavour. Not a hint of greasiness.
- Peas 8/10. Delicious. Only minus point is that this was rather crushed pea, not pea puree. Don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with crushed pea, you just need to describe better.
Shame, tartare sauce should have been in the pot. As foods were so hot, tartare source soon melted in the dish made it very messy and became “uncontrollable”. I did not necessarily want my foods covered by melted tartare sauce, as they were so delicious as they were.
OMG, this may be one of my best experience so far, I can give firm 9/10. I will be back soon, to test “consistency”. Previously I was disappointed often in this category. One good fish and chips is certainly good to celebrate. However, if you can reproduce the quality then there certainly be a reason to celebrate and earn my recognition.
I am having an another fish and chips, three weeks in a low, this is remarkable. This was not a plan but I could not resist after a few pints in a pub, but this time a bit different, we are at FISH WORKS, Piccadilly.
“Lyme Bay cider battered prime cod fillet with double cooked chips, Cornish sea salt, minted mushy peas and fresh gherkins and baby capers tartare £14.95″…..MMM, this is the most expensive Fish and Chips I have ever ever came across…..
- Fish 8/10. Delicious. Firm but not hard, flavoursome, moist but not watery. Batter is thin, it is not what we know in terms of fish and chips batter… difficult to explain but I felt I cannot call this fish of “fish and chips”. I hope it make sense. Shame they took skin off.
- Chips 10/10. Delicious. Double cooked is definitely better than triple cooked which tends to go too hard. This was crunchy outside but fluffy inside. What “wowed” me was, when I picked up a few left over chips later on when they went completely cold, it was still just as delicious. Well done!
- Mushy peas 8/10. Delicious but slightly too buttery and also this was not mushy but pureed!!!!
Overall a fantastic 9/10 for Fish Works. However, a big however. With service charge (included in the bill), this was a very expensive fish and chips. I will go on a riot if this was not good. Will I be happy to pay £14.95 + service charge for fish and chips? Probably not. I paid as a part of my study.
My journey continue….
Hooray! Love Friday again, here we are at the Bald Faced Stag, East Finchley, having cheeky pint again!
Cracking on my study of Fish and chips. Bear battered cod, triple cooked chips, mashy peas, tartare sauce £12.50. Oh, 9% (£1.00) higher than a neighbouring pub, bullish!
We were sitting directly opposite (in some distance) of the open kitchen, I could see my Fish and Chips was awaiting to be served for at least 3-4 minutes, and I believe a chef noticed my “line of sight”, he looked uncomfortable, guruuuuuuu…..
- Fish 6/10 Unremarkable. Batter far too thick.
- Chips 5/10, Disappointed result by the effect of triple cooked. Too much frying made them bloody too hard, too much cooking!!! You need to keep simple.
- Mashy peas 5/10. Dried surface due to sitting under the light while waiting to be served and very stingy portion.
Overall 5.5/10, Bullish pricing which was not justifiable.
Previously one of my many fans commented that I am mad trying to find good fish and chips in pubs. Now, looking back my previous posts, I am beginning to think I may be trying to find something which does not exist.
But, but but but, I decided to continue my journey. I am determined. This can be a long journey but one day, I will be having my perfect fish and chip and cold lager on my hand. Then you will share my joy!
Hello my fans, long time no report. I had a mass craving, yes it was Thursday, a school night but here were are at The Old White Lion.
I absolutely love white baits. This was £4.75, it was plenty. I wish more pubs serve this. I would be the number 1 critic. I love this simple deep fry, not thickly breaded + deep fried, then beautiful fishy taste is usually disguised. I guess a lots of people prefer to be disguised. I come from the country where eating fish deeply rooting the nation. I absolutely enjoy every bite, from heads to tails, they taste so nutritious, come on Calcium!!!!
No let’s move on to the original subject, Fish and Chips.
Sorry my fans…. it has been over 2 weeks, I have sort of forgotten. May be due to the excitement of white baits.
No rate today I am afraid. I remember that I was not too impressed. I also remember saying “I forgot how to rate them”. I have declared myself being “subjective critic” when I started this blog. Despite, I am reasonable enough not to make up rating.
More critic to follow, with rating! Good night!
This is a Fish and chips critic special report from Glastonbury 2015. Being in the UK for the past 23 years but this is my very first Glastonbury. There are numerous reports from Glastonbury, therefore, I decided to highlight the one aspect. How big the festival site is by,
“Spot the Fish and Chips Challenge, Glastonbury 2015”
I am determined to spot all fish and chips on the site. Then I was greeted by:
I spotted impressive EIGHT fish and chips. I hope this result portrays how big the site is. Though according to the on site “The Glastonbury Free Press” newspaper (yes!), there were 513 food stalls at the Festival, selected from a total of over 2,000 trader applications. If I did spot all fish and chips (I am pretty confident I did) then the presence of Fish and chips is mere 1.6%. From my impression the biggest presence was PORK, either in pulled pork or hog roast form. I must confess I did not sample any fish and chips on this occasion. I was too busy eating other foods from rest of 505 stalls!
On Monday morning, we chatted a stall holder (not fish and chips). According to him, electricity cost him approx £2,500. He was near the Pyramid stage. Though he is in the prime location. However, he told us that trade peaks during performance hours but after the last act it disappears. Ah! of course! the area probably be the quietest rest of the night (which never ends). Also he told us that the first 2 days are usually quiet as people bring lots of own foods….
Nevertheless, 2,000 trader applications told us how desirable to be at Glastonbury.
I cannot rate fish and chips. But I can rate Glastonbury Festival. I give my solid 10/10, What a party, I never knew this world exist, I wish I was there earlier. I was missing out big time. Had been apprehensive about toilet, not be able to wash, mud, etc. How stupid I was, these things did not matter. I did not have a shower for whole 6 days while I was there, did not bother me slightest.
All over for now, the food stalls were all packed up by 6pm Monday night (so the trader above told us) until next year….
I will be back Glastonbury!