CROWN FISH & CHIP BAR: A PRAT ON PRATT ST
I am always wary when people tell me that “so and so is the best ……….. restaurant in London” It usually only means that said place, of whatever ethnic origin, is just around the corner from them.
I am especially wary when they utter those same words about a fish & chip shop. As you may well be aware, if you are a regular reader of the blog, DH are very specific when it comes to restaurant matters fish & chipular and few examples in the capital come close to those, well just about anywhere North of the M6.
That’s not to say that there are none worthy of trying, but the chance of discovering more like Masters Superfish or The Golden Hind are becoming fewer and fewer as we exhaust another option every few weeks.
I had three in mind for today’s excursion; Poseidon in Finchley, Something Fishy in Lewisham and Crown Fish & Chip Bar on Pratt St in Camden. All came recommended and all, somewhere on the Internet had been described as “the best fish & chips in London” I had my doubts, but as HP often says “we do it so you don’t have to”
In the end I chose Crown Fish & Chip Bar as the one that I could get to and from most quickly, the main reason being that I also had a doctor’s appointment later in the afternoon and consequently wanted to limit the amount of time I walked around with a plastic vial of my own urine in my pocket.
Just South of Camden tube station and on a small side road, Crown is one of those multi purpose chip shop come cafes that offer everything from fish & chips, of course, to fried chicken, pizza, kebabs and lots of other foodstuffs designed to soak up the booze imbibed by late night Camden revellers.
On Friday lunchtime, however it was empty bar me and a couple of people ordering take away, so I plonked myself down in a corner and had soon requested my normal fish & chip control order of large haddock & chips, mushy peas and a cup of tea. The tea came immediately, while the fish was being cooked to order (it nearly always has to be for haddock, which is why it is a suitable test)
Unfortunately, the fish arrived soon afterwards, too soon. One glimpse at the decent sized piece of fish on my plate told me that
a) It had not been cooked for long enough
b) It had been cooked in oil that was not hot enough
Good batter should bubble up to a crisp, coming away from the fish to form a protective coating under which the fish can steam to perfection. Here, the soggy batter, lacking any crunch at all, clung to the fish so I had to peel it back revealing both the raw batter underside and the greying fish, which had begun to soak in the oil that had leak through during the cooking, really rather nasty.
The chips were little better. Suitably white but undercooked so they did not spurtle with vinegary steam when doused with non-brewed condiment. The peas, were green and harmless, but one would hopefully expect more than that for somewhere that people have the temerity to call the best in London, even if it is on Qype and somewhere that charges £10 for the privilege.
I left barely half an hour after arriving although the taste of the greasy cooking remains with me still, as do the lessons I learned from today's quick jaunt. The first, is that I should stop listening to the opinions of others, well just about ever, and the second that people who tell me that “so and so is the best…………..restaurant in London really need to get out a bit more.