"It's not much but it's ours"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


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.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rules to live by: avoid restaurants where the menu is written in Comic Sans.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 5:33:00 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

That piece of fish really does look under nourished! Will have to check out The Golden Fish.

Thursday, February 26, 2009 9:30:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weren't you in the publishing trade?


Thursday, February 26, 2009 3:16:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

remind me never to make a joke in the blog again


Thursday, February 26, 2009 3:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I visited the Kennedy's take away counter this afternoon and half way through eating my portion of chips I came across a green foreign object. It felt like a bit of green pad (you know the ones used for washing up.)

I read the hermano 2 blog on Friday (13/3) night which prompted me to visit the shop in the first place and after reading the bad review I decided to return my food.

I told the Eastern European assistant what I had found and she showed it to the 'manager' who protested that they did not use green pads - yeah right. He told the assistant to give me a refund and shouted "there isn't much food left is there love." How dare he accuse me of trying to blag a free meal. I was absolutely livid; it doesn't matter whether I found the object at the beginning or end of my meal, the fact is I still found it. I have now decided to take this matter further and report them to the environmental health agency.

Saturday, March 14, 2009 8:33:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your standards did drop quiet a lot the fish was very oily the chef must do the job properly.
your sincerely

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 8:10:00 pm  
Anonymous Richard said...

I must say I was quite surprised at the poor review. I have been to Kennedy's for lunch on a number of occasions (most recently about two hours ago), and I have always found the portions to be relatively generous, the chips are proper sized chips & well done. Coleslaw & salad are not really my cup of tea anyway, but they are there.

The wine, admittedly, is of rather varying quality, but I suppose that is to be expected. However, as I said, I have always found both quantity and quality of the food surprisingly good (as have the various people I have taken there). So far I have had the fish & chips, the calamari & the steak and kidney pie (although that was a little dry). I don't know whether you were there on a bad day, or whether they have just improved since you were last there, but I would recommend another visit.

Friday, June 12, 2009 2:54:00 pm  
Blogger Shannon said...

I am a regular visitor to Kennedy's. I was very happy when I first discovered the place and it has never let me down.

I have not been for lunch but their evening service and food are fantastic and as for the portion sizes they are HUGE.

Their whitebait is to die for.

The Golden Fish Bar is actually my closest Fish & Chip shop but I trek the extra distance as Kennedy's are far superior.

Give it another chance.....

Actually I might go there myself this weekend.

Friday, September 25, 2009 6:12:00 pm  
Anonymous David said...

What rubbish - this place is great. The full tables and queues round the block are all the reviews you need. Go there, you won't regret it and you won't feel ripped off either.

Friday, January 01, 2010 10:33:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I listened to this review and stayed away. Then a combination of too much wine, no dinner and the drip-drip effect of seeing it totally crammed full of happy faces caused me to relent and visit last Friday. I had cod and chips. It was magnificent.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 7:13:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Thanks for the update - sounds like another visit is in order. Having said that our experience shows that unless there's been some radical change like a new chef we usually find places don't change that much.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 9:24:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Although having reread your comment maybe I need to go when I'm pissed and ravenous ;^)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 9:48:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know my fish and chips and this was good fish and chips, even when you subtract a full two units of extra pleasure derived from booze and hunger.

To be honest, I think talk of 'change', or its unlikeliness, is a bit OTT when you've only been to a place once. Case in point: I had a poor piece of cod on my first visit the Golden Hind the other week. Still, I'm sure it's usually fantastic.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 6:46:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this place has stepped up its game of late. The portions are massive and the fish fresh and huge. I've been many times and much prefer it to golden, fryers delight etc. The oil is better and tastier. I've never left hungry or let down.

Friday, August 06, 2010 1:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Richard said...

I'm delghted to see that since my last comment others seem to have agreed that the place is far better than the review suggests. As it is now just across from my office, I go there regularly (often several times a week) and I am still a fan. Their pasties are apparently all homemade on the premises daily, and the steak & kidney one is rather good (better than the pie I thought). I am told by my colleague that the cheese & onion pastie and the salmon pastie are also good, as are the fish cakes.

The "cod goujons" were not that great & I tend to steer clear of those. Other than that, though, I've gone through most of the menu & enjoyed it.

Admittedly there have been one or two occasions when the fish was a little too dry, but those have been very rare indeed.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 7:07:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Went there today and had a rather gross piece of fish that smelled foul. My husband agreed, but the staff simply took it away (with chips and fish) and came back to say 'that's what halibut tastes like'.

No replacement, still charged me for it. Told them I thought this was rubbish and got the most breathtakingly cold, insincere apology of my life.

Luckily, we can now give reviews online.....

Thursday, August 25, 2011 6:48:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you want for a fiver!?!? There are only 4 places worth visiting in London; The Beach Hut in Highbury but watch out for the bones. Faulkners just over the borough border into Hackney. Chris' in Eversholt St, a proper traditional fish n chip shop. But by far the best is Kennedy's of Goswell Road, the fish is always fresh, moist n flakey. The batter light n crispy. Even the non fish item in the bangers n mash n homemade pies are fantastic. But for the truly hungry is the 'Cabbie Special'. For those middle classes frowning at the size of the portions, there's a lovely overpriced Fish restaurant just up the road in John St. Much more your cuppa tea. Kennedys for me 11/10

Friday, February 03, 2012 12:49:00 pm  

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