KENNEDY'S OF GOSWELL ROAD: WHEN IS A BARGAIN LUNCH NOT A BARGAIN LUNCH?
I have two readers of the blog, Krista and Peter to thank for pointing me in the direction of Kennedy’s of Goswell Road which stands where Mezzo and formerly The Goswell Road Fish Bar used to be. The latter, on many occasions, was very good. The former on one trying was bad enough for me never to return until today when I popped into the latest incarnation to take advantage of its lunchtime offer of a meal and a drink for £5
So here is how I imagine the bargain lunch should work under normal circumstances.
Restaurant needs to attract more customers at lunchtime. Restaurant offers limited menu of more simple dishes at a good price where it can still make money and the customer can be prompted to visit them instead of buying a sandwich.
The understanding should be that, while you are experiencing a limited offer and perhaps, but not always smaller portions, you should also be experiencing the same quality of ingredients and cooking as you would expect of an evening meal.
Unfortunately, as with today’s lunch the reality is often very different with both restaurant owner and punter seemingly under the impression that, just because a meal is cheap it can be of inferior quality and execution. The lunchtime fish & chips at Kennedy’s are both.
Mind you, it seems to be working as there was barely a space to be had in the restaurant, a long line at the take-away and apart from a handful of people who selected pies, the majority seemed, like me, plump for the offer of fish & chip.
When it arrived, you could see immediately where corners had been cut. The scraggly bit of cod deemed suitable for a London lunchtime portion would not have been considered fit for a Northern cat. The small selection of chips did little to cover glaring white of the over large plate and only a decent size bowl of peas seemed like value for even this small amount of money. Out of the generosity of their hearts, or more likely to cover up some more of the white plate, they had added the, oh so traditional Fish & Chip companions of coleslaw and salad. So wrong on so many levels I simply have no idea where to begin.
Size isn’t everything as I am all too often reminded and such parsimoniousness could have been forgivable had the cooking been able. It was not. The chips were undercooked, probably in a rush to get plates out to the waiting crowd and the fish itself, while undeniably fresh was covered in a batter which clung to the flesh like a five-year old to its mum on the first day of school. Even the peas were so undistinguished that I regretted having a generous portion and left most of them along with, obviously, the salad and the coleslaw.
The glass of red wine that came with the meal was pretty nasty, but did at least serve to take the taste of the food from my mouth and, about 20 minutes after I arrived, I found myself back on the street again feeling as cheap and shoddy as my lunch.
The bill came to £7 including £1 for the peas and a £1 tip for service, which was friendly but harried as two Eastern European girls wondered what kind of nation would do this to fish and potatoes. Looking back on my recent experience at The Golden Fish bar on Farringdon, up there with the best London has to offer (not saying a lot I grant you) in matters fish & chipular, my meal was £6 for a piping hot, well prepared generous portion. So, this is not even a particular bargain.
I have posted an image of the evening menu as I really can’t see why anyone would want to subject them self to this lunchtime treat. Let me know if you visit and how it stands up.
They say you get what you pay for in life. They, whoever "they" may be have obviously not been to Kennedy's.