What they're saying.....

The Fish House - top wallies

Even now, in top-secret offices at a hidden location, planners, designers and marketeers are burning midnight oil as they seek the Holy Grail for their masters the mid-range restaurant companies. What they are all looking for is a modern fish and chip concept that can be rolled out and turned into a fast growing chain. Doubtless the current economic climate has forced them to re-double their efforts, in times when people are keen to cut their spending, fish and chips is what it has always been: the meeting place between good food and good value. The only fly in the ointment being that it is so very difficult to get right. The fish has to be bought carefully, cooked carefully, priced keenly and sold the instant it comes out of the fryer. While it takes a number of years for a chip shop to gain the confidence of its customers, it only takes one soggy, smaller than usual portion for the word to spread that standards have slumped, thus spooking the nervous herd of customers so badly that they trample off to try elsewhere. This is why family-owned, old-established, small, individual fish and chip shops always serve the best food; and is also the reason that so many expensive fledgling "chains" of fish and chippers have crashed and burned.

Lauriston Road, in E9 on the edge of Victoria Park, has a pleasant villagey feel to it. A decade or so ago it was home to the only restaurant with aspirations in the locale - the bistro called Frocks, which has recently been sold and awaits a new fate. But during the last few years Lauriston Road has gained a very decent gastropub - The Empress of India; the local Indian has spruced itself up; a splendid butcher's shop has opened (this is the second London outlet of Marylebone's Ginger Pig), these all signs of a gastro-renaissance marking the area as being just the place for a good, modernist, fish and chip shop. The Fish House follows the traditional layout, as you walk in the fryers are in front of you and there is a takeaway zone, the dining room lies to the right. The tables are large and glass topped, the chairs look dangerously stylish but turn out to be large, modern and comfortable.

The menu is backed up by a specials board that ventures into fish restaurant rather than chip shop territory. Tuna salad Nišoise. Saffron and lemon seafood risotto. A whole sea bream. Barracuda with sun-dried tomato pesto. Cold cooked King prawns with garlic mayonnaise. A traditional prawn cocktail with apple and dill - this came in a sundae glass and hit the nostalgia notes with chopped lettuce, plump prawns and pink gloop - perhaps it needed a tad more gloop but very creditable, the dill was particularly welcome. Fortunately the core items here - battered haddock or cod - are well done: light golden batter with the fish steamed within. Add splendid chips. A bowl of rather sweet, luminous green mushy peas. And top wallies (this is the Londoner's pet-name for the sweet and sour gherkin), here they are the size of miniature Zeppelins.
Charles Campion
Evening Standard


Time Out Eating & Drinking Guide 2009

The Fish House formula of retro-stylish takeaway chippie juxtaposed with table-service restaurant is mostly successful. The two elements are kept separate, physically and by way of menus. Takeaway customers are assigned two bench-tables at which to wait for (or eat) their battered cod, haddock, plaice, rock or scampi and chips. On the Sunday evening of our visit, there were copies of the Observer spread across these. Restaurant customers sit in a clinically stylish area to enjoy the likes of lobster bisque with bread and butter, grilled lemon sole with french fries and garlic butter, and king prawns with a´oli, as well as a range of English puds. Our cod and haddock were as fresh as the batter was crispy, while the chips achieved the crunchy-outside, fluffy-inside consistency with aplomb. Customers complaining about slack service passed us from the restaurant, suggesting things might not always be as smooth on that side of the fence. Italian ice-cream is available by the scoop.
TimeOut


My Village | Hackney

Trendy take-out and restaurant. The take-out fish and chips have never disappointed. The food in the restuarant is excellent. Fish pie was packed with different types of fish. No hint of being ripped off with lots of potatoe. The special fish casserole was spectacular. The specials are not cheap but the huge portions of fish and the quality of the food more than make up for the price!
Jane Mackreth
myvillage