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.
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.
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!