In my younger and naive days (one of those descriptors still applies to me), I used to think that there was no skill in preparing deep fried food. I thought that all you have to do is dunk the food in the hot oil, wait a moment and then yank it all out. No skill required.
In my life working in Tokyo, I was quickly disbused of that notion. There there is an art to the various deep fried food on offer. Tempura, Kushiage, Tonkatsu. Some of my favourite things.
What I learned was that the oil had to be kept at a certain temperature to fry the food but not unduly stick to it. Done carefully, fried food could be almost oil free. However, the oil has to meticulously watched and timed. If it wasn’t, you were liable to get a soggy, oily mess.
Sadly, it seemed that the care required to ensure this quality seems to be rather lacking in the UK. I suspect that this is due to de-elevation of a Chippie’s status. Does little to encourage people.
Whitebait. Fried little delights. Crunchy, fullsome flavour, delightful with lemon and tartar sauce. These were excellent counterpoint to the fish with their more concentrated flavour.
Cod and chips. The cod was succulently encased in thin batter. Generous chunks of fish with just the right thickness of batter, these were cooked just right. The potatoes were great. They were soft and moist inside, crunchy on the outside. Not too oily.
As I love to eat deep fried food, I am easily attracted to establishments promising the same. Which means that I have a more than passing acquaintance with the usual ambiance. It is a good sign when:
- there is little fragrance of oil in the air as it means that they filter and refresh their oil frequently
- you don’t find yourself skating on the floor, it shows that the cooks are careful and oil is contained to the appropriate location
- the toilets are clean and well lit showing that there is nothing to hide
- your food is served with a smile and efficient service, it only serves to put the cherry on the cake.
Or perhaps I should say chip on the fish.
A quieteating 8.5/10.
Dinner (2 courses) was GBP10 per person.
6-8 Hanbury St,
London E1 6QR