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.