Friday, 29 August 2008

Masters Super Fish, Waterloo

It's a cliché, and one you will hear often repeated by Northern expats around these parts, that you can't get a decent Fish and Chips in London. Of course, given that deep fried fish and chipped potatoes is hardly the most complex takeaway food, there are plenty of places in London that do a pretty passable F&C, and equally, like anywhere else in the country there are far, far more that do a terrible one. Given that, in the interests of my pocket and my pulmonary artery, I'm not about to try every chippy I come across in the capital just in case it turns out to be good, I did a bit of research and last Saturday turned up at Masters Superfish in Waterloo at the very 'Northern Chippy' time of 5:30pm.

Considered one of the few "real" chippies in the capital (along with The Golden Hind in Marylebone and Seafresh in Victoria, amongst others), Masters has built up quite a reputation amongst foodies and bloggers and I was quite excited to see what the fuss was about. First impressions of the room were pleasingly authentic - plain, no-nonsense décor with a little takeaway hatch on the way in and - delightfully - like any good Northern chippy a wall containing fading pictures of faded light entertainment stars who have popped in for a photo opportunity over the years. The menu was slightly more extensive than I was used to up north, with more premium options such as Dover Sole and Halibut alongside the traditional Cod and Haddock fillets. We all went for fish and chips.

First up was served a free plate of prawns each, which were sweet and tasty but some of our party were put off by the orange eggs - it must be the time of year. Also dished up extra were some lovely tasty pickles: a large white onion and a sweet gherkin, top marks again for those.

Fortunately, the Main Event, when it arrived, didn't disappoint either. Lovely crunchy chips in all sorts of sizes, and a healthy slab of flaky white fish covered in a dark, dense batter. If I'm going to be picky, the fish was probably slightly overcooked - the extra crunchy batter wasn't to everyone's tastes, and the fish was just a smidgen on the dry side - but these were minor quibbles and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy my plate of food.

I'd be happy to call Masters Superfish my local chippy, and once you add in the London markup it wasn't too expensive either. It's understandably popular, and although our fellow diners in the early evening consisted of an elderly couple and a table of Japanese tourists timidly extracting their fish from its batter and eating it separately, I am told the queue can stretch out of the door. In an area of London becoming famous for its varied and excellent dining options (The Anchor and Hope, Meson Don Felipe), Masters can hold its head high. I'll certainly be back.


Masters Super Fish on Urbanspoon


Douglas Blyde said...

Those prawns look a little lonely.

Chris said...

Yes it was a bit of an odd thing to serve actually, looking back. I mean nobody visiting a fish and chip shop expects any kind of extras, never mind prawns. The pickles would have been enough.

Caroline said...

No mushy peas though? That's a disgrace.

qP_1 said...

It is true that there is no good fish and chips in London.

This place is very average, in the north east it would be considered not very good even if the prices were more in line with the norm.

The best fish and chips is at Bell's, Gilesgate Moor, Durham city. There is another excellent one in Tynemouth, and several other very good ones in Newcastle, and Sunderland.

If you tried Bell's you would no longer rate 'Masters'

Chris said...

qP_1: Believe me, I'm under no illusions as to the state of London chippies, but Masters held up pretty well I thought. For a proper world-class chippy, try:

I will certainly bear your suggestions in mind for when I'm next in the North East!

qP_1 said...

That place in southport looks interesting. Based on the fact that you've got a good sense of what's what when it comes to good food I'm keen to try it..

Though it would have to very good to be better than Bells.

Part of the problem is that a lot of fish and chip places fry in vegetable fat, wheras to produce a half decent result you really have to use beef dripping.

Its not even the case that the veg fat is better for one's health because I've often seen solid blocks of vegetable margerine added to a fryer, and as we know to be solid at room or fridge temperature it must be hydrogenated.

Anonymous said...

That looks sh!t, I went to a place in Notting Hill that is raved about by Jamie Oliver and others( Jamie’s mentioned, you hate the place already), that was also Sh!t.
Chez Fred in Bournemouth is good (occasionally they let me down, but not often). Seniors in Lancashire was top draw I believe it is still winning awards.
Back to London, you need to visit a descent chip shop; it will blow your minds! I hope to try somewhere in London in November, any ideas welcome.