Rothley Fisheries, Leicestershire, January 2019

The title of Leicestershire’s best fish’n’chip shop is hotly contested. This one has always been my candidate for that title.  It’s allegedly where Sven-Göran Eriksson used to go for fish’n’chips when he was Leicester City manager. It has recently changed hands, and on a snowy night in Leicestershire, we made our way here for dinner before our annual charity pub quiz night. I’ve been here on the odd occasion with friends from work, but it was the first visit for the rest of team “My Pointless Friend Richard”.

Fish’n’chips is the classic takeaway dish, but occasionally you can combine its speed of arrival with a bit of a sit down and some plates and cutlery. Here, you can also combine it with beer from the local Charnwood Brewery, with a selection of their bottled ales on offer, served at both room and fridge temperature (your choice).

You also get a pot of tea with your meal, for that full Northern eating experience. Bread and butter is included (because you’ve got to have a chip butty, even if you’re sitting down with a plate). You also get a choice of peas, beans or curry sauce. No need for your Peter Kay “has tha’ nowt moist” quote here.

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Double peas for me as Mrs MOFAD is not a fan. That’s the small fish, the large one (seen on another table) is enormous. You might just spot a bowl of pickles in the top right corner – these are also included. And if all of that is not enough, you can even have a free top up of chips as you are making progress with your meal.

It’s fresh, it’s delicious and it’s very good value. Lovely crisp batter, soft flakes of fish and great chips. Definitely the best fish’n’chips in Leicestershire, whether wrapped up in paper and taken home, or whether you sit down and eat it in the restaurant.

Ocean Prime, Denver, November 2018

This is one of those “save the best until last” moments. The conference that I’ve been attending is nearly over, just a few more sessions tomorrow morning. Tonight, we are “out out” and some new friends have chosen Ocean Prime, a small chain that has restaurants in 10 states.

The name comes from its surf’n’turf combination of seafood and steak. Steak restaurants are ten a penny, so I’m definitely after some fish tonight. Which is just as well, as there’s plenty to choose from, including Colorado bass, salmon, halibut, ahi tuna, Florida grouper, lobster, sea scallops, cakes and Chilean sea bass. The steaks look good, but it’s got to be fish.

Which to choose though? The halibut looked interesting but a cauliflower puree didn’t seem to be a pleasant accompaniment. The Colorado bass had the most interestingly named accompaniment in “corn spoon bread” (so called because you scoop it with a spoon). In the end, the teryaki salmon with shiitake sticky rice and soy butter sauce won.

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What a great choice it was. Sweet, sticky and slightly smoky. A lovely piece of fish, and by far the best thing I’ve eaten since I’ve been here. Lovely and fresh and perfectly cooked.

There was also a turn on, playing rock and pop covers from the 80s, 90s and some 2000s. The Mark Diamond Duo are regulars here, and their background music made a nice change from the endless sports that have been screening everywhere else.

All of these things add up to a lovely evening out.

A little aside to finish with. One of our party, from Florida, disappeared for quite a while after they had finished their dinner. It turned out that they had been out to buy some “herbal cigarettes”, as Colorado is one of the ten states where the recreational use of cannabis is legal.

Fish’n’chips (from a van), Clumber Park, September 2018

Probably the last camping trip of the year, and very possibly the last time we will be having fish’n’chips “from a van”.

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As I’ve mentioned many times over the summer, many camp sites are getting regular visits from food vans, and the site at Clumber Park is no exception. Tonight it’s fish’n’chips and tomorrow night it will be pizza.

It was probably the least good fish’n’chips we’ve had this summer. That’s not to say it was bad, just not brilliant. Think they probably needed to turn the temperature up on the fryer, but the portion size was good. They are on site most Friday nights.

300 Spartans, Loughborough, September 2018 (fish’n’chips NOT from a van!)

Yes, you read the headline correctly. Fish’n’chips NOT from a van! A rare occurrence indeed, but a necessary one tonight. I’ve just got back from Manchester, so we stopped at the 300 (Zoo) Spartans on the way back to pick up some dinner.

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Not the most artfully arranged plate of food in the world (I’m no food stylist!) but I was starving and wanted to shove all of that fishy goodness into my face.

There are some who argue that this is the best fish’n’chips in Leicestershire. I say that award goes to Rothley Fisheries, but this is one of Loughborough’s best.

Fish’n’chips, Blackmore Camping and Caravan Club, Worcestershire, August 2018

A soggy start to our Bank Holiday camping adventure. A little bit of rain when we were setting up camp, and then quite a lot more rain when we cycled up to Great Malvern to have a bit of an explore. In the end, we just explored Caffè Nero to warm up and wait for the rain to stop.

We got back to the camp site, dried off a bit and then made our way over to get fish’n’chips *from a van*. This is a long running joke when camping. In fact, the van was a converted horsebox, not the first one that we’ve come across either. On a soggy Friday night, they were doing a roaring trade, with plenty of captive campers taking the easy option for Friday night dinner.

We chose fish’n’chips and mini fish’n’chips. They were both good but the mini fish’n’chips was a bit of a rip off, as they just chopped up a bigger bit of fish and gave you a much smaller portion of chips. If it was half the price for half the food, you might understand. At 75% of the price for about 33% of the food, it feels like a massive con. A child’s portion at an adult price.

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This weekend I have also come up with a new Camping and Caravanning Club motto. “You can’t spell leisure without rules.”

Inglenook Fish and Chips, Ingleton, August 2018

Yorkshire three peaks. Done! After a long descent from Ingleborough, and then a detour to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, we weren’t in the mood for a pub trip tonight, so stopped off in Ingleton to pick up fish’n’chips from Inglenook before heading back to the camp site.

We had popped in on Sunday afternoon so that Mrs MOFAD could confirm that this was yet another Yorkshire establishment that doesn’t serve Yorkshire fish cakes. For those not in the know, a Yorkshire fishcake isn’t mashed fish and potato, instead a slice of fish is placed between two slices of potato, battered and then deep fried. That’s purely academic though, because Inglenook don’t do them.

What they do instead is a classic portion of fish’n’chips, as well as some rather nice fish goujons which Mrs MOFAD had to make do with, due to the lack of the aforementioned Yorkshire fish cake.

A rather untidy photo, because if you’ve just finished the Yorkshire three peaks (spread over three days), eating takes precedence over food styling…

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Wainwright always liked to have fish’n’chips after his fell walking exploits, they are very good for refuelling. A Yorkshire classic on Yorkshire day.

Fish’n’chips, Merryweather Farm Caravan Park, Chipping Norton, July 2018

We are back at Merryweather for the annual visit, although they don’t seem to be quite as good as they used to be. They seem to have been studying the “rules rules rules” rule book from the Camping and Caravanning Club. Not quite the easy going camp site owners that they once were.

New for this year, is the Friday night option of fish’n’chips *from a van*. This is a long running joke when camping, but it’s becoming an increasingly convenient thing for camp sites to arrange for their visitors. On a warm Friday night, they were doing a brisk trade, with plenty of campers taking the easy option for Friday night dinner.

Apparently this van wasn’t their usual van, as that was out another event back up in Lutterworth (we might have passed it on the way to the camp site this morning). They were doing a decent job of knocking out fish’n’chips from a smaller unit. No pictures because we were too hungry to stop and capture the moment for prosperity.

A welcome addition to a camp site that doesn’t have anything conveniently located nearby.

Fish and chips at Highfield Farm Touring Park, Comberton, Cambridgeshire, July 2018

Yes, it’s another camping fish’n’chips post. If you have some kind of mobile fish’n’chip facility, get friendly with your local campsite, and suggest that you turn up on a weekend evening to cater for hungry campers. It’s a licence to print money because who is going to turn down fish’n’chips? Especially just a couple of hours after England beat Sweden 2-0 in the 2018 World Cup quarter final, and there are some very “refreshed” people on the campsite who need to get some substantial food inside them.

That was not us. We had undertaken the small matter of a 10 mile walk in 30 degree heat instead. We were definitely in need of sustenance, but for different reasons, due to extreme calorie expenditure.

This is why there is no photo of tonight’s tea. It was hoovered up at extreme speed. It took us about 20x longer to order and wait for it than it did to eat it (everything is freshly cooked to order, and there were a large number of refreshed people ahead of us in the queue). It was delicous, crispy battered cod and nicely crisp chips, all from a van. Great stuff.

Instead, here is a photo of some wild chicory. There’s quite a lot of it growing around the area, although we did have to Google it when we got back to the site to confirm what it was.

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We have stayed at Highfield Farm Touring Park several times now. The current fish’n’chip van is different to the one we frequented on our last visit, but it is still very good. Another reason to stay at this lovely campsite.

 

Brewhouse and Kitchen, Islington, June 2018

A night off from revision and reading. My destination later on is The Bill Murray, a popular comedy pub venue in Islington. Before that I need some food and drink, so I thought I would pop in to Brewhouse and Kitchen, Islington, as it’s somewhere that I wandered past last month when I was at City University.

There was football on around the periphery of the pub, but no-one was that interested in it, so it’s another to add to the list of “not football venues” which you can watch the match in peace in.

First up, some Westwood Pale, brewed here on site, an American pale that’s a clean, hoppy, tropical and modern pale. Lovely easy drinking beer.

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I also had a Great Eastern India Pale Ale from Redchurch Brewery, a lovely well rounded IPA, full of balance. And they haven’t skimped on the pale either!

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Dinner was a pan seared red snapper fillet with coconut and coriander rice, bean sprouts, sugar snap peas, fresh sweetcorn salsa and a soy dressing.

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As there was still plenty of time before the comedy started down the road, I had time for another, in the form of Hot Black Desiato, a milk stout also brewed here on site. As you might expect, it was sweet and creamy.

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A nice little place, and I think I’ll come back here for dinner on Friday evening as I have some time between the end of my exams and my train home.

The Crown and Two Chairmen, Soho, June 2018

Good to be back at my new favourite Soho pub after another evening at the Soho Theatre. A typically manic performance from Robin Ince (trying to squeeze a good few hours of material into an hour slot).

On my last visit, they were in the middle of a Thornbridge craft beer residency, a kind of mini-tap takeover. The next instalment of craft beer residency just happens to be up and running now. It’s an American theme this time, with Sierra Nevada and Anchor both represented here tonight.

First up was West Coast Hazy IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Yes, that’s a west cost NEIPA, very easy drinking and refreshing, and only 4.2% too.

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Alongside this was Blood Orange Blonde from Anchor Brewing Company, a rather non-descript blonde ale with not a lot of blood orange in evidence.

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Dinner was a simple pub classic, fish’n’chips. Nothing to get excited about, just plain fodder. Some pub fish’n’chips are fantastic, others are just ok. This was just ok.

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Still a great Soho pub, just avoid it at the weekends as it gets absolutely rammed! It was busier than usual because they were showing the World Cup, but the game was almost over and it soon emptied out afterwards.