Some things are just better in pairs. Bread and butter. Strawberries and cream. Fish and chips. Once considered a cheap and cheerful takeaway choice, the chip shop has now gone all grown-up and joined the gourmet gastropub party, with chefs and punters getting equally excited about this old-school seaside classic.
Beshoff Bros, Leo Burdock and Fish Shack Café are all revelling in the reinvention of this traditional delight, so it's time to sit up, look sharp and give your fish and chips a helluva lotta respect.
Crunch your way through golden crispy batter to tender flaky white fish, served up with that elusive Chip Shop Chip. They're chunky and soft – this isn't the place for skinny American fries – and you want them in that kind-of-fluff-yet-soggy-but-in-a-good-way form, so they soak up whatever sauce you've slathered them in.
Lashings of salt and vinegar is a given, and perhaps you'll also go for those almost-fluorescent green mushy peas too. Or gorgeously gloopy gravy. Or thick spicy curry sauce. And let's not forget the bits of batter you can scatter over. You might choose to keep it classy with a sharp tartare sauce. Or drench it in tomato ketchup: dress your fish and chips up however you wish.
The chippy's celebrity fans…
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Apparently, the first recorded mention of chips was actually in Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities: 'Husky chips of potatoes, fried with some reluctant drops of oil.' Charles Dickens – officially one of the original fans of the chippy.
It was a thrifty meal back in the day, which is where the English phrase 'cheap as chips' comes from, but fish and chips is no longer about a bargain supper – this is a fancy pants meal with super-hip status.
At Fish Shack Café, you can forget the heavy greasiness of fish and chips, with a tempura batter as light as air, served with a hint of chilli and fresh parsley. Or you could try their swanky Crab-Crayfish Mac & Cheese, with a fishy take on the classic macaroni, topped with strong Irish cheddar and grilled up until golden brown.
Leo Burdock's is a more traditional affair. Its century-old menu includes its 'Dubliner's Caviar' of smoked cod and chunky chips, or there's a lighter lemon sole dish – and they also make their own signature vinegar, so you can order a bottle to make the magic happen at home.
But Beshoff is your boy if you're feeding a hungry crowd, they've got a whole load of 'family meals' on the menu here. They also have an enormous range of gluten-free classics – because nobody should have to miss out on proper fish and chips.
If it's good enough for Charles Dickens… get gloriously gourmet fish and chips delivered directly to your door through Deliveroo.