“Fish & chips” is an interesting cuisine option – it’s almost universally invoked with a modicum of enthusiasm, and is very much regarded as an English cultural cornerstone – and though it’s ostensibly a simple meal, there’s definitely a huge variation in quality. One thing that’s always puzzled me, in fact, is how people maintain their enthusiasm for fish & chips from their local chippy when it’s obviously terrible.
Having walked past The Laughing Halibut many-a lunchtime to see a queue stretching out the door and towards the corner of the street I was keen to give them a try and see what the fuss was about. With so many nice places to choose from in the immediate area, why on earth would you line up for 15 to 20 valuable minutes for a meal which flies in the face of popular health wisdom, with an eager look on your face!?
Turns out – I discovered, making a special weekend trip in – it’s because these guys really know their way around a piece of cod. Crispy golden battered fish sits amid a sizeable pile of chips which, once I’d gotten them back to the office, were suitably crunchy (without being crispy) and tasty as well! (My chip vocab is a little lacking) They weren’t the sad anaemic looking excuses you sometimes discover next to your fish. Similarly, the fish was tasty, with just the right thickness & texture of batter, and – perhaps it was coincidence – not a single bone.
The whole thing seemed quite well-priced for the amount of food you got – probably a serve of chips & 2 bits of cod could satisfy 2 people, and set you back somewhere in the region of 10 or 11 quid. There’s other types of fish there, but I’ve not had the chance to get anywhere near the menu since that day, so you’ll have to go find out yourself.
There’s a good reason why The Laughing Halibut’s a local point of reference when giving directions – it’s been there a good few years now, and judging by the following they’ve got it’ll be there a few more yet.