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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SEAFISH: AND EAT IT (UNFORTUNATELY)







In truth it wasn’t the best time to visit a Fish and Chip shop. Feeling tired, crotchety and nursing a hangover I could only be placated by a good plate of something deep fried. Sadly, Seafish (I wonder if there’s a sister restaurant, Fieldcow) didn’t oblige and I left full of useless carbs, all my woes still intact.

It had looked so promising the previous evening. I’d just visited Public House, a cocktail bar, just off Upper Street and understated enough to mean the hordes marching up and down the main drag passed it by. I’d had a couple of drinks: a Dry Martini and a Manhattan. Both were well made with decent liquor. They were strong and at around the seven quid mark not too expensive.

Wandering back down towards the tube I passed Seafish. It used to be an old-style chippy but I’d never seen many people in there. Now it was full and buzzing. There were candles on the table and there was a big sign outside exhorting the punters to come in and BYO. All good stuff and about time too given that the last decent chippy in this area – the Upper Street Fish Shop – closed some years ago.

The next day, however, it seemed everyone was nursing a collective hangover. The Eastern European staff were incredibly taciturn, the fry master didn’t look too happy either. Unhappy people produce unhappy food.

My Haddock was soft and overcooked. The batter lacked any crispness and was as tired as my face. Mushy Peas had an unappealing crust on them. Worst of all were the Chips which had that slightly rancid taste of old oil which I got to enjoy throughout the afternoon. I may never eat chips again. A run-of-the-mill pickled onion was cheekily pushed out at one quid.

Although the prices appear reasonable the bill can still surprise if you add on a few extras and given the poor quality of everything it brought to mind the saying that Bad Food Is Never Cheap.

There’s no art to making Fish and Chips. It’s something that, when you have a bit of experience and some good ingredients, should be eminently reproducible day in, day out. Seafish didn’t seem to have the necessary cooking chops to do even one service of decent food and only adds to the woeful lack of good dining opportunities on Upper Street.

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12 Comments:

Blogger Gourmet Chick said...

"I may never eat chips again".... hmmm I find that hard to believe

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 10:09:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

You know me so well...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 8:40:00 pm  
Anonymous American in London said...

How disappointing to hear Seafish was no good. I live not far from it and so have walked by often (and considered dropping by the next time I need a f&c fix).

I can't say I'm surprised the fish and chips were sub-par, though. The renovation of that space seemed to happen overnight, and the counter and frying equipment look exactly the same as when the space was a dirty-looking, rundown local spot that sat empty most of the day.

Friday, January 30, 2009 12:10:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Try the Fishery Fish Bar

Friday, January 30, 2009 10:02:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article is absolutely nonsense, how can you comment on food with a hangover?! Ever since they renovated this place its been heaving and rightly so. I had cod and chips with my wife last friday and quite frankly its the best id had since living up north. The batter was crispy and the fish extremely meaty. The chips were chunky and not greasy at all and our starters, pan fried king prawns were superb. I blame the booze!! Try it when your taste buds are still alive!!

Saturday, February 07, 2009 10:49:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

You don't get out much do you ?
Since when was popularity a sign of quality ?

Frankly, given how mediocre this place is you'd need to be pissed before you went there.

Saturday, February 07, 2009 5:15:00 pm  
Anonymous Scimitar said...

Went to Seafish for a late lunch - the fish was mediocre at best, the chips dire. For a meal ranging from the mediocre to the dire, definitely not worth wasting the 5-7 quid it cost.

Sunday, February 08, 2009 11:25:00 pm  
Blogger foody said...

Surprised to see a few bad reviews. This place is real popular with the locals so i decided to give it a try at the weekend. I live in crouch end but work in the angel. We are blessed with a great chippy the famous 'toffs' but i've got to say these guys give them a good run their money. fluffy batter and juicy brilliant white fish with the return of the great british chunky chip i was thorougly impressed. Good value for money and bring your own is always a bonus!! The table opposite me had none other than paul whitehouse and kathy burke who seemed happy enough. A must visit!!

Monday, February 09, 2009 7:22:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

They obviously have consistency problem. Well, they're near enough to give them another go I suppose and I have a bottle of Krug which needs to be drunk sometime.

UP

Monday, February 09, 2009 10:58:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant comment on the haddock as i went for the cod. Maybe their haddock is just not up to it herma! FOODY.

Monday, February 09, 2009 11:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My partner and I were unfortunate enough to choose this restaurant for a late Friday night dinner (not after boozing). The decor and feel of the eating space was warm and relaxing. Having not eaten since lunch and it was not 10 o'clock we were both ravenous and thoroughly looking forward to our tasty fish supper. (Potential tip: 20%). The waitress came over to the table, looked in another direction rather than the two guests before her, grabbed a lemon to suck on (figuratively), and mumbled something incomprehensible. I assumed she'd asked something along the lines of 'can I take your order'. I asked her to repeat what she'd said and it turns out I was right. My partner asked the waitress if "all the fish on the menu was white fish". The language barrier proved too much for this employee who could only reply to this most simple of questions: "Fresh? Rock fish?" - she had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. (Potential tip 10%) That said, she put into our heads the idea of eating rock fish, so two rock fish, chips, and beans were ordered. About 20 minutes later, the meal arrived. It looked okay on the plate, the batter appeared crispy, but looks were deceiving: each mouthful of batter included a helping of the cooking oil oozing out into my mouth. This really didn't help things. I lifted up the fish and there was an unlovely puddle of oil - I thought once fish was cooked it should sit in one of those cabinets with holes in the bottom where the oil drained off. That didn't look to have happened here. I had similar issues with my chips - that slimy oil tainted every mouthful, even though chips should be crisp and dry. (Potential tip - almost 0%). The fish itself - I found it pretty disgusting - I've not had rock fish before so I have no idea how well cooked rock fish tastes, but for me the taste was unpleasant and the texture was mushy. A tiny portion of beans arrived a minute after the food. But thank goodness for them - without the beans I could not have eaten half the meal, like I did. After we finished, five minutes went by, and even though by this time there were only about four groups in the restaurant, our (half full) plates were not taken away. With a rather unpleasant after taste in my mouth I went to the till myself to pay. The total came to £23.65 (for the above food and a can of ginger beer, service not included). As you might suspect, the potential tip I had in mind was now firmly nil. With hindsight, I should have tried to negotiate the cost of the bill down (seriously - why not? If a restaurant's going to serve up oily fish and chips when that's its main dish, surely it's best they feel it in their pocket, rather than the customers' pocket?). Final verdict - pathetic all round. I hope I don't have to go again. (NB: in the interests of fairness my partner actually enjoyed his meal and said it 'wasn't bad' - I can only think he's not had decent fish and chips before)

Saturday, March 28, 2009 9:29:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved this place. Went there for my 40th birthday on saturday and we had some damn fine fish and chips. All 8 of us agreed, non greasy , crispy and succulent. Personally i wouldnt let some of the comments above put you off they could well be shills for some of the local restaurants who have been seriously affected by the success of this cracking chippy!! Thats the only explanation i can think of..

Friday, April 10, 2009 11:11:00 pm  

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