If you’re working in the City then you can probably afford to treat yourself to a classy feed after hours now and again. The choice of Michelin star restaurants in and around London’s Square Mile is plentiful and there is plenty more on offer besides. One of the newest kids on the block is The Fish & Chip Shop, which opened in Old Broad Street last month.
It might not offer the finesse and style of its Michelin star peers but it delivers a British seaside staple with more panache than we’ve encountered anywhere else. The man behind the new venture is Des McDonald, who honed his skills as head chef at The Ivy for many years. McDonald opened the first branch of The Fish & Chip Shop on Islington’s über popular Upper Street last year to a great reception and continues to please still. The latest addition to The Fish and Chip Shop family is in a slightly less prominent position to its sister at the heart of Upper Street. McDonald’s new City base is housed at the foot of Dashwood House, a glass tower set back from the passing traffic along Old Broad Street.
Inside, the restaurant has the feel of a classic French brasserie – the design is clean and simple with an impressive U-shaped bar in the centre and leather-clad seating and tables running along wood-panelled walls. We sat down to a menu full of old favourites – there’s bread and butter to start, scampi and chips on the mains list and you can even finish with a knickerbocker glory.
We went for something a little sexier from the starters list, ordering the spiced tuna with Japanese horseradish – small clumps of moist joy – washed down with the £23-a-bottle house white. On the waiter’s recommendation, we also ordered in the restaurant’s very own London particular fritters – a delightful mishmash of ham hock and mushy peas coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried.
For the main event, we sided with battered haddock and chips and a weighty rib-eye steak. You may think the latter a curious selection in an establishment celebrating the glory of fried fish, but it was a delicious option nevertheless. The haddock was encased in a heavenly batter that was crispy to the touch but slipped away like butter in my mouth. The chips were less remarkable – chunky and satisfying but not in the same universe as the fish. We also chucked in some deep-fried gherkins and a house salad to make ourselves feel better about the damage inflicted on our waistline.
To conclude, we wiped the palate clean with a Spice Trader from the bar’s cocktail list – a sharp, whisky-based concoction – before seeing off a vanilla rice pudding with honeycomb and blackcurrants.
If Des McDonald’s mission was to produce a seriously posh chippy then he can consider that aim accomplished.
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