BRADY'S: FISH AND CHIPS FAIL IN WANDSWORTH
It was inevitable really: after visiting the capital’s premier fish & chip emporia (admittedly, a pretty short, shortlist and up there with “Jamie Oliver restaurants DH would love to visit”) there would come a time when that proverbial barrel would have its bottom well and truly scraped.
These were the thoughts that passed through my mind as I sat in the rather grim, lino-lined dining room of Brady’s, a Fish restaurant in Wandsworth.
Despite being very rude indeed about South London I have a little confession to make. Up until the new millennium I spent many years in areas of London with a SW in the postcode, specifically 15 and 18. And, there’s more. My parents were married in Wandsworth Town Hall. I worked just down the road in Putney. I won and lost love on West Hill. I also drank in Wandsworth, once home to Young's Brewery and a splendid set of Dray Horses, which would deliver barrels of Ordinary and Special to the local pubs. So it was with a small frisson of recognition that I alighted at Wandsworth Town station and returned to my old haunts to see what was what.
First, a decent pint of Ordinary at The Ship, a warm, welcoming pub near the river, spoiled only by the presence of a man wearing a pink shirt and jeans a couple of sizes two small for him, talking VERY VERY LOUDLY indeed. I suspect the species is prevalent in these parts. Onto another old haunt The Alma, packed-out with rugger-buggers where I tried a pint of the new (to me) Young’s London Gold, a pleasantly hoppy brew. Not particularly complex but obviously pitched at getting pissy lager drinkers off er, pissy lager. No bad thing.
Brady’s, next door, was opened when I lived just up the road and to be honest the intervening twenty or so years haven't been kind to its decor or, more importantly its cooking. Its depressing vibe was catching - all the customers, a mixture of foreign students and elderly regulars stared miserably into middle distance at nothing at particular. I did likewise. It may have been the rain. More likely it was the food.
A plate of Haddock and Chips appeared suspiciously quickly. To say it was the worst Fish and Chips in London I've ever had would be wrong...but only because I've yet to visit every Fish and Chip shop in the capital. The batter was simultaneously limp and tough, the fish within was desiccated and didn't really taste of anything. If I knew any better I'd say it had been pre-cooked and re-heated. I don't, so I won't.
Chips weren't bad but just so many lumps of carbohydrate without a decent piece fish to accompany them. Mushy Peas tasted as if a bowl of sugar had been emptied into them. Truly vile. I eased the pain with drinking from a bucket-sized glass of house white.
I left Brady's about twenty minutes after I entered. My stay might have been a bit longer if I hadn't left so much of my meal, but not by much. The rain was falling more heavily now and I remembered why I never really liked this area. Sometimes you just shouldn't go back.