POSEIDON: BY THE GODS, GOOD FISH & CHIPS IN NORTH LONDON
After last week’s Fish & Chip catastrophe at Crown Fish & Chip Bar I was down to my last two alternatives within decent range of central London, Something Fishy in Lewisham and Poseidon in East Finchley.
When friend and food writer, Neil Davey suggested that I meet him for a quick bite near his home in North London, it seemed like a good opportunity to tick another one off the list and after spending a morning unsuccessfully trying to extract prose about making haggis from my computer, I hopped on the Northern Line for the short, stuffy journey to East Finchley Tube station.
As I arrived my phone buzzed with a message from Neil informing me that he was going to have to pass. Typical freelance food writers, they always let you down at the last minute. Just because he had work to do, why should my lunch suffer? So, undeterred, I stepped inside.
Poseidon is a standard fish & chip set up with a take-away to one side, already busy with customers lining up for their lunch and a large restaurant to the other, which seemed to have switched on a beacon attracting local cab drivers
There was a set lunch menu for £9.95 for two courses including tea or wine, but concentrating on haddock as always, I ordered from the main menu, a “medium” haddock & chips, mushy peas and a drink, this time taking advantage of the offer to have the fish cooked in matzo meal.
While I waited for my lunch, the waitress brought out a plate for one of the other customers. “Jumbo Haddock” she announced as she handed it over and she was not kidding. It was enormous, its sides jutting proudly over each side of the plate and enough to make me think that I had shown my hand too early by ordering what was obviously going to be the kiddy portion.
I need not have been concerned. My own plate was delivered shortly afterwards, not nearly as impressive as “Mr Jumbo” but enough to stop me feeling like I should be carrying a Transformers sarnie box. The matzo crust glistened and made a pleasing crunch as I broke into it to get to the fish. The insides were spot on, flakes of white flesh that came away from the batter without a struggle. The chips were the perfect example of the chip shop chip, slightly white from the use of Fryer’s Mate and the perfect compromise between fat monstrosity and frites.
Peas looked the part too and, although they needed a helping hand with the addition of salt & vinegar, were as good as you are likely to find in the capital. Even the tartar sauce was a half decent. Not house made I suspect, but a notch above that offered in most London chippys with the exception of Masters Superfish.
The end result was a very pleasant lunch, even if it was tout seul, and fish & chips good enough to justify not only the journey up from town but also the slightly high price of £14 +tip. Enough in fact to bring Poseidon into the top end of the rankings along with Masters, The Golden Hind, Olleys, The Golden Fish Bar and a handful of others.
One more fish & chip shop to go, Something Fishy this way comes, I think.