Best of British: Fish and chips

BY Fiona Hicks

1st Jan 2015 Travel

Best of British: Fish and chips

The classic dish is enjoying a revival, thanks to these chic chippies. Did your local chippy make the cut? Let us know your favourite in the comments below. 


St Andrews

Cromars has spent years cultivating a sophisticated edge to this slap-up meal. Proudly Scottish, the majority of their food is locally sourced: fish from Peterhead, langoustines from St Monans and even the potatoes for the chips are from East Lothian. The friendly team are led by head chef Colin Cromar, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the fish-and-chip industry.

“Colin has a warm and welcoming smile for everyone,” says co-owner William Frame. Colin is the man who ensures each fillet—whether battered, breaded or grilled—is up to their scrupulous standard.

“Our most popular dish is by far and away the fried haddock and chips,” continues William. “It’s much loved by the Scots.” If you have room, you can even indulge in a pudding (or two) in their sit-down restaurant.


Simpson’s Fish & Chips



This smart spot scooped top prize at last year’s National Fish and Chip Awards. The food, of course, is pivotal to their success. The team here select the largest cod available for the biggest flakes and meatiest texture. They’re also scrupulous about the quality of their batter, which contains no MSG, no bulking agents and no salt.

“There’s no greater pleasure in life than indulging in a portion of fish and chips,” says co-founder James Ritchie. “Winston Churchill himself referred to fish and chips as good companions during the Second World War and they weren’t rationed to keep up morale.”

Happily, there are lots of ways to enjoy the Simpson’s offering: customers can order from the convenient takeaway app Deliveroo, book Simpson’s as caterers for an event, or pop into the sleek restaurant and shop on Priors Road.


Papa’s Barn



This is the oldest fish-and-chip shop on our list—and the one with the most dramatic history, too. Originally established in 1966, the restaurant was one of ten buzzing branches set up by the late Photios Papas.

However, in the early morning hours of June 10, 2010, a catastrophic fire started at the premises in Ditton, destroying the much-loved eatery. Photios’s sons, Michael and Theo, spent years rebuilding the branch—and it’s now back on fighting (and frying) form.

Their delicious fare has enticed the crowds once more, but it’s their award-winning approach that keeps them coming back. “It’s a careful combination of sourcing the right products, attention to detail and of course having a cracking team,” explains manager Gavin Lewis. “That and a pinch of passion."


The Cod’s Scallops



The business may have a light-hearted pun of a name, but the team here take fish very seriously indeed. Their extensive menu boasts line-caught cod, haddock, monkfish, hake, mackerel, salmon, sea trout...amongst many others, which change daily according to market variation. Choice being the name of the game, they also provide options for coatings, with diners able to enjoy their fish either deep fried in traditional beef dripping or baked with fragrant garlic, lemon and herbs.

Says marketing director Helen Molnar, “Customers can enjoy anything from lobster and Champagne to battered fish and chips and a mug of tea.” What’s more, there’s an excellent wet-fish counter on site. Visitors can select their favourite and have it pre-prepared to their exact specifications for easy at-home cooking.


Hodgson’s Chippy


The heart-warming story behind this shop is one of a couple’s dedication to each other—and their craft. Nigel and Linda Hodgson met when they worked together at Linda’s parents’ shop in Lancaster. When her parents decided to retire, both Linda and Nigel were determined to keep the tradition going, raising enough money to buy another shop a few streets away.

“There was a huge risk element,” says Nigel. “We had to sell our house to live above the chippy. With two children, it was very tight.” Investing in the best frying technology, the couple soon transformed the formerly run-down terrace shop into a warm and bustling food hub.

A special draw of the place is the fact that their well-honed methods have rendered the classic dish almost healthy—one portion of good old fish and chips here contains a mere 5.5 per cent saturated fat!


Mister C’s


This Selby institution could perhaps win an award for the most conscientious chippy in the country. They’re one of only a handful of shops to have received the MSC certification, which means that they can trace every fish they sell to the exact time, location and date on which it was caught.

This “chain of custody”, as it’s known, means that they can ensure every single fish they sell is from a trusted and sustainable source. As well as exceptional care for their fish, they also show exceptional consideration for their customers.

“Several years ago we recognised that many customers who suffer from Coeliac disease were unable to enjoy fish and chips,” say owners Mark and Denise Corbally. “That was simply unacceptable to us.” For this reason, every Tuesday the staff thoroughly clean all utensils, refill the fryers and create special batter in order to be able to offer gluten- free fish and chips.

The Dolphin Takeaway

Dungannon, Northern Ireland​

Established in 1989, this holds the title of Dungannon’s longest-serving takeaway. The secret to their longevity is their precise approach to frying: the batter on the fish is light yet crispy, while their chips offer that much-coveted “snap” in the middle. Surprisingly, it’s also a good spot for those who don’t like fish.

There are several other fresh and hearty dishes available, including burgers, southern-fried chicken and ciabattas—plus fun box meals for kids. It’s popular with the locals so expect queues at the weekends. Even standing in line can be a pleasure, however, as the takeaway prides itself on serving up a “large helping of community spirit” with its meals (and Dungannon folk tend to be very friendly). If you simply can’t bear the wait, it’s possible to call ahead with your order



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