Saturday, December 22, 2012

Local chip shop, Hackney style

Perfect fish and chips, homemade tartar sauce and tomato sauce

The local fish-and-chip shop - or chippie - is a fixture of British neighborhoods. I've walked past hundreds, looking all the same, fluorescent-lit, smelling of stale frying oil and not so fresh fish, and not been tempted.

But fish and chips is extremely popular, and our son promised that we'd enjoy his latest gastronomic discovery.

The Broadway Market takes place on Saturday in Hackney near the Regents Canal. And even though it was pouring down rain, the market was thriving. We strolled the length of Broadway, marveling at the food and goods for sale, and then our son veered off on a side street, walking past the London Fields Primary School and toward the railway overpass.

He turned into a gate, and we found ourselves in a fenced, smallish yard full of more stalls and vendors. The Netil Market is a wee off-shoot of the Broadway Market, started to provide opportunities for local designers and craftspeople.

It was a little bit of a shambles, even more so in the rain. Shaky tarpaulin-covered frames sheltered tables of cluttered merchandise, and small wooden shacks housed more permanent vendors. One vendor sold shakes from a VW bus.

The Fin & Flounder fish and chip stand was between a florist and a burger stand. The cheerful young man behind the counter fried our lunch to order, putting fresh fillets of haddock into the batter, then dipping them carefully into the fryer basket, all the while keeping up a steady conversation.

We carried our fish and chips over to the cluster of mis-matched tables and chairs arranged beneath sagging tarps, taking care to dry off the seats before sitting down. It was cold and wet, and every once in a while a pool of water would overflow the edge of the tarps, bringing down a stream.

Cheerful snowflake decorations in the eating area
Even so, the battered fish was golden and piping hot, and the perfect crispness gave way to creamy pure white flesh beneath. A squeeze of lemon and a dunk into the home-made tartar sauce made it even better.

I could hardly believe I was eating something so perfectly delicious while shivering with cold feet on rain-puddled asphalt, but it was one of the best meals I've ever had.

[The Man I Love] enjoyed his, too, and I think he managed to stay dryer than I did!

Now can we go find a pub?


small mind said...

oh My God those fish and chips look good! x

smalltownme said...

OH MY, that looks delicious!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I feel like I can smell the fish and chips.

Hamish Mack said...

It looks fab.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Those fish-n-chips look incredible. I am now HUNGRY!