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.