Fried fish bar

In response to that last post about Scotland's classic cafes Mr Gibbon asks two good questions:

  1. Can you please make a list of the cafes, like this, that are in and around Glasgow that are still open?
  2. Where are all the decent chippies?

To Q.1 the answer is yes, will do. I've meant to do that for some time. Q.2 I don't know. I've stopped eating chips out of chip shops because they are generally so rubbish. A decline in national chip standards is a bit of a worry. For a nation that pretty much lives off deep-fried stodge you'd think we could do it a bit better. The only good chips I've had lately were from a place in East Kilbride village called Marini's (or Martini's, I'm not sure), although chips out of any Chinese or kebab shop are usually spot on. They're not chippy chips though. So any recommendations? - could be Glasgow or further afield. Good chips are usually worth travelling for.

You have such a gift of making simple things in your photos look interesting and important.

Hi Anne,

The chip shop opposite Chorlton Baths does good chips. But that could just be cos everything hot and greasy tastes good after you've been to the baths.

I remember having great chips in Chorlton. Is there a chippy beside the pub opposite the green? Vague memories as drink may have been involved. Lovely chip barm though.

We're lucky in Maidstone - an excellent Chinese Chippy on Union Street - in fact in my experience Chinese Chippys tend to be pretty good - not too greasy and crisp


L'Aquila Bianca in Stockbridge, Edinburgh is fantastic.

Probably the biggest challenge for an english man, like me, moving to Belfast is getting to grips with the shift in chip shop lingo. "A portion of chips please", is greeted with a strange look while "a chip please" (the correct terminology here) just seems so wrong to me. "Cod and chips"? No!, it's "a fish supper" apparently. The best is what I'd call a "large portion" which is totally unheard of here; an order for such a thing is just ignored and a standard portion is dished up.

On a more positive note, not only are the chips of a superior standard to general english fodder (with the clear exception of those from the chip shop in Rothley, Leicestershire) but the variety of fish on offer it top notch. Make mine an antarctic camel fish please!

I made a discovery in Melbourne today, deep fried nori rolls. It was battered as well. My boyfriend is from Paisley, and I couldn't wait to tell him all about it, because I think it beats Deep Fried Pizza.

He swears by his local chippy in Paisley, near the Grammar school. I don't like his kind of chips, I like mine crispy on the outside and fluffy inside, but I think it is an Australian thing.

Yorkshire is the place for fish and chips. A lot of places there still fry in beef dripping, which is the secret to success. Mad Cow Disease saw a lot of fryers moving to vegetable oil, though I've read that some are moving back to the animal product. I've never tasted better than Murgatroyd's of Leeds. It's a modern, large cafe/restaurant full of blue-haired OAPs and young families by the car load.

Bang opposite Murgatroyd's is another, tiny fish and chip shop which given the competition must be bloody fantastic to survive. I'll have to give them a try.

I've never had decent fish and chips in London - and I've had a really good look. Even the ones at the smug this-is-how-it-should-be fish restaurant in Borough Market were pathetic compared to even the most modest shop in Whitby, Scarbrorough or Brid.

What a response to this great British tradition. I think I prefer my fish when I’m dinning on this cuisine but I agree with you all here that chips are vitally important. For me Newcastle wouldn’t be the same without the Big Market and a luvley chip butty. But when cooking them at home I'll only use potato wedges with the skin left on.

Having explored the UK I've found that there are some great restaurants if you’re passing. One of my favourites when studying in Reading was Mr Cod on London Road. Straight opposite the pub and five minutes from home these guys seem to of gone from strength to strength as a quick Google reveals they appear to be taking over the south of England. Maybe their success has come because of their uniforms?

In response to Anna Laura - there are some but you really have to seek them out. I had a horrible fish supper once when in Camden. This place was right by the tube station and I was at the stage of the night where I was really hungry having just done an eleven hour shift at work. Anyway I was well chuffed at getting some dinner and waited till I got home to eat as I lived only five minutes away. When I got there I opened up the rapping to find an orange battered fish and some of the worst chips ever. The fish was a proper diet portion, so thin that the batter had managed to squeeze the fish to about a centimetre deep. I did contemplate turning off the light to see if this thing would glow in the dark but instead Tommy K saved it from the bin.

On the other hand “Fish and Chips” in Berwick Street is probably my favourite but be warned these guys close early so don’t bother going there on a night out. I used to love going there in my lunch break after my weekly visit to Sister Ray – one of the best record shops in London.

This is shaping up nicely. The terminology is interesting, Richard. I'd say "a fish supper" here, or an anything supper if you want it with chips. If you want it on its own it's "single fish". "Special fish" is fish in breadcrumbs. Mmmmm. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Edinburgh's "salt and sauce" instead of salt and vinegar. I still don't understand what that sauce is. It's an alien foodstuff.

I get my chips (fried in veg oil, as I'm veggie) from 'The Tasty Plaice' opposite my house in Exeter. It was run by Doris for at least twenty years but she finally retired to Spain last year and it's now run by a lovely Chinese family.

There's another good one, a mere 15 minutes walk away, which I used to use, called 'The Fish Supper', and another in the centre of town called 'The Battered Plaice' which I used to use when I worked near it.

I do wonder to what extent the good chippies are suffering because people have grown used to the over-salted taste of fries from chain fast food and don't want a good bag of chips any more. Having said that, on a Friday night, there's a queue out the door across the road with people getting their 'cod and chips, twice'.

What do you call the bits of batter that have fallen off the fish and you can get as a free extra? There's 'gribbles' here in Devon, but I'm sure we called them something else in Sheffield.

Wow, you can buy crispy bits separately? I might have to move to Devon.

Well those crispy bits of batter are called 'scraps' here in Lincs, and Yorks I believe.

One good thing about living near Grimsby is the fish and chips - most chippies in the town, and Cleethorpes as well, do a good job of them.

However, New Waltham fisheries in, er, New Waltham, is top notch, as is Mr Chips, an institution in Louth.

In Bridlington, Jack's is amazing.

I tried salt'n'sauce when I moved here, don't like it. My other half (from Northants) has it with haggis and sausage suppers but salt and vinegar with a fish supper.

Chip butties are chip rolls in Scotland.

Those crispy bits are called 'scraps' in Keighley, where I grew up. We also had (and still have) fried potato discs with thin slice of fish in the middle, called a 'scone' - which is unheard of even in the next town.

I went to art college in Carlisle, which has many fine fish shops. A favourite of ours was their deep-fried cricket balls of mashed potato called (I think) a pattie. They also did cheese ones.

I like the sound of those, Gareth.

Just to complicate things further, I'd call a chip roll "a roll and chips". And I'm sure there's some weird part of Scotland where it would be "a roll on chips". That's just mental though.

Anne - no, you don't buy gribbles (or scraps). They're free. You just ask for some to be added to your chips. that what Nigella would call 'a garnish'?

Loving the sound of the deep fried cheesy mash footballs.

Heretical proposition: the best caff chips are better than the best fish shop chips. What do you reckon?

I think Mags may be right that the fry is encroaching on the habitats of the native chip. There's a grey squirrels versus red squirrels thing going on.

A proper chip should be chunky and robust, with crispy golden brown exterior and white fluffy insides. It actually shares more potato DNA with the roastie than with the pallid frite.

Caff chips - The Lorelei, one of Soho's last old-style Italian cafe/restaurants does absolutely sublime thin chips, served on an old glass plate. Fried to order, sweet, with just the right amount of crunch - a little mound of hot golden straws. Munching away, looking at their slightly alarming mural is one of London's great vanishing pleasures.

I agree with that proposition, Spud. I prefer the lightness of the caff chip.

Gareth - that sounds brilliant. I've seen photos of the Lorelei and almost didn't believe my eyes. It looks spectacular.

Years since I eat chippy chips on a regular basis, but for what its worth....

1) Enzo's In Shettleston Road, Glasgow was my favourite as a teenager. Thrirt years later, its still going strong

2) L'Alba Doro in Henderson Row, Edinburgh. Near my first bedsit flat when I moved through there to work. Great chips and it sold boooze!!

I just had to 'chip in' (bad pun, sorry!), when I was a student in Newcastle we used to always order 'scraps' with our chips, they are very popular there, often they will even have a special space in one of the glass cabinets just set aside for a huge pile of scraps. Has anyone mentioned scollops? Like fried discs of potato but much smaller than a potato cake? I live in Australia now and you don't see them here so I wondered if it was a British thing or maybe even just from Liverpool, where I grew up? Personally, I think chippy chips are better than cafe chips, maybe just because of the way they're served. I don't like chips on a plate. And chippy chips are way better for a chip butty as they're usually more squishy. Liverpool chips are especially good for butties as they're not very crispy. Mm, this is making me hungry.

The Philadelphia chip shop on Great Western road; still the best chippie in Glasgow...

Following this up, I was in the Tasty Plaice tonight and a stranger was in, working out the lingo after the person before him had ordered gribbles.
"Cod and chips, twice. And d'you call them 'gribbles'?"
"Ah, we called them 'batterings'."

I'm afraid I wasn't sure of the accent so I'm not sure where the extra noun comes from.

Also, yes, I remember 'scallops' from the Midlands and Yorkshire. I got very confused when fishy things that looked like overgrown oysters started to appear called the same thing!

Hello, I am very sad ! I've just been having a debate about 'scraps' down here in London and they say that the phrase 'crackling' is used ( which personally I think is pants !! ) - does anybody anywhere also call them by this name ?! I agree that they are called scraps and have never known it to be called by any other name !!

I live in Leeds, up here, scraps are also known as "bits". If you were strapped for cash/drunk as a skunk, a "bit buttie" would cost 30 pence as all you are paying for is the bread cake itself. Lots of ketchup and salt n vinegar(also free) was also a must! I remember running my tongue over the roof of my mouth to be met with half a centimetre of grease after consuming one of these. Great memories!

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