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Friday, June 26, 2009

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.

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16 Comments:

Blogger TheFastestIndian said...

Oh dear. Your food also seems to have strange luminous quality. I can report that the fish and chips at Wimbledon are adequate. Obviously not lovingly hand-prepared and the chips were verging on being fries (but prefer this to the chunky variety), but definitely more than edible.

Friday, June 26, 2009 3:56:00 pm  
Blogger Josordoni said...

that looks truly disgusting... a packet of Birds Eye fish fingers would have made a considerably better meal :(

Friday, June 26, 2009 4:52:00 pm  
Blogger Lizzie said...

Oh go on, try the lewisham one; it's my local and i'd like to know what it's like!

Friday, June 26, 2009 7:19:00 pm  
Blogger Passport Foodie said...

"fish & chipular"

I love it!

I may have to steal that one from you in a future post!

You're right, fish and chips is not something one should take lightly. If you're ever in East Grinstead, pop 'round to Harbour Fish Bar. They do a bang up job.

Friday, June 26, 2009 7:41:00 pm  
Blogger Chrispie said...

We do F & S quite well sometimes in Ireland (I'm in Cork) but more often than not, the very best chips are from Thai takeaways. The Thai component is pretty execrable-normal for Ireland, but the chips are always first class-is it because they use groundnut oil?
ChrispieBicycle

Friday, June 26, 2009 7:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Silva said...

Sorry to wade in with more suggestions but The Golden Fish on Becontree Ave has my vote - I've even spoke to regulars in there who travel from as far as Hendon.

Friday, June 26, 2009 7:59:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

Thanks all for the other suggestions

Chrispie - I like the idea of the Thaifry

Passport Foodie - feel free to use it with my blessing.

S

Friday, June 26, 2009 8:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Paulie said...

Yildiz wasn't that bad ffs! You should've got the Beyti anyway.

Friday, June 26, 2009 10:46:00 pm  
Blogger UKK said...

I like the one close to Holborn station, must check the name...

Saturday, June 27, 2009 8:56:00 am  
Anonymous JonR said...

fish and chips 101: if the establishment also does kebabs, stay the HELL away.

the best fish and chips can be found in grimsby, by the way, where it is ubiquitous and cheap.

Saturday, June 27, 2009 4:43:00 pm  
Blogger UKK said...

The Fryer's Delight
19 Theobalds Road
near Holborn station...

Saturday, June 27, 2009 5:01:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

last time I was at The Fryer's Delight, it was very grim. I used to like it a lot, maybe I have to give it another try

S

Saturday, June 27, 2009 5:59:00 pm  
Blogger Grobelaar said...

Spent four years working just around the corner from this place and it was never good. I used to cringe when colleagues would buy their lunch or dinner there. Have had some good fish and chips at a place directly opposite Tufnel Park tube station. I wouldn't say best in London, but was worth a visit when I went to see friends in that area.

Saturday, June 27, 2009 9:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Harters said...

When you refer to "north of the M6", I'll assume a rare typo has crept in. North of the M6 is Scotland and I assume you were not intending to diss the whole of English fish and chippery!

J

Sunday, June 28, 2009 4:40:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Poseidon in Finchley is at best OK, and the service (at the takeaway section at least)is generally absolutely appalling - I've walked out twice while waiting for a portion of chips - Just chips, nothing else.

Monday, June 29, 2009 3:48:00 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

Following the advice of the Hermanos I went to Master's Superfish and nearly fainted. It is the only competitor with Anchor and Hope for the title 'Best Food in Waterloo'. And is about a quarter of the price.

My work is just around the corner from the Crown. I tried it once.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009 8:51:00 am  

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