Fish and Chips
For the love of cod!
Kent’s very best fish and chips…
Who doesn’t love a good portion of proper fish and chips? Whether you douse the whole lot in salt and vinegar, or prefer to add tangy tartar sauce or a classic dollop of ketchup to proceedings, the outcome is always comforting and delicious. Regardless of how you choose to eat the traditional treat there is something unbeatable about proper chip shop chips with their piping hot fluffy centres accompanied by a big piece of juicy fish in crispy batter.
Winston Churchill called fish and chips ‘the good companions’ and he wasn’t wrong. These two elements go together so well that it might come as something of a surprise to discover that the dish as we know and love it today only came into being in the 1860s. In Britain in the mid-1800s, Jewish refugees arrived and brought with them some delicacies including fried fish, which was sold by street sellers who hung large trays around their necks. Usually it was sold with some bread or perhaps a baked potato on the side; no chips…yet.
In fact, ironically, when chips were created in France or Belgium in the 1850s, it was as a substitute for fish. The rivers froze, so no fish could be caught and housewives used the only thing they had – potatoes. They cut them into fish shapes and fried them, serving them up as an alternative.
This idea struck businessman John Lees as a good one and in 1863, impressed by the resourceful of the fried fish sellers and having enjoyed the fried potato shapes in France, he felt that the two items might just marry well together. It turned out to be an excellent idea. He began selling fish and chips in a market in Mossley, Lancashire, and no one ever looked back with the dish fast becoming one of the most popular up and down the country.
Is this story true? Perhaps, and perhaps not. An alternative fishy tale is that it was Joseph Malin, a Jewish immigrant, who opened the first bonafide fish and chip shop in London’s East End in around 1860.
Either way, whoever came up with the idea, or whether both men had the idea at the same time and went to work at different ends of the country, the point is that everyone adored fish and chips right from the start, so much so that during World War II the government actually went out of its way to ensure that this food favourite was not rationed.
Since it’s National Fish and Chip Day on 7th June, and since Kent – as ever – boasts some of the most glorious of fish and chip shops you’re likely to come into contact with, insideKENT decided it was time to let everyone know about them.
Shakey Shakey Fish Bar
75 High Street, Ramsgate CT11 9RJ
Not only is the fish fresh and the chips perfectly fried, but the tartar sauce is homemade and there are even gluten-free options to choose from too, so everyone can have a chance to try the delicious food from the Shakey Shakey Fish Bar.
43 Albion Street, Broadstairs CT10 1NE
Aqua 43 has been family run since 1972, so you would expect that the owners know quite a bit about how to make perfect fish and chips – and they do. Everything is cooked to order and the ingredients are as fresh as possible. There are even homemade pies on the menu and – surprisingly – roast dinners!
Reliance Fish Restaurant
4 Queen Street, Gravesend DA12 2EE
After almost 100 years (Reliance’s centenary will be celebrated in 2020) the fish and chips served in this quaint, traditional restaurant and takeaway in Gravesend is still as good as it ever was with people travelling from across the county and beyond to buy the chips that remind them of their childhood.
Ossie’s Best Fish and Chips
205 Tankerton Road, Tankerton CT5 2AT
Although there is quite often a queue to get to the counter at Ossie’s, the staff there know exactly how to cope with the crowds, so you won’t have to wait too long to get your hands on a big bag of freshly fried chips and some perfectly battered fish.
Papa’s Fish and Chips
142 Canterbury Road, Folkestone CT19 5PH
Established in 1966, Papa’s Fish and Chips has been a staple in Folkestone for locals and visitors alike. It was all started by two sons of a Cypriot priest who had been farming potatoes and realised they could make a living by combining them with the fish that their father caught. The idea was a successful one and is still going strong today.
Peter’s Fish Factory
12 The Parade, Margate CT9 1EZ
Peter’s Fish Factory is always a popular choice and why not indeed? With excellent quality food made quickly while you wait and the choice to either eat in or take your box of goodies out to the seafront, there isn’t much more you could ask for when it comes to good old fish and chips!
48 High Street, Dymchurch TN29 0NL
Beach 48 doesn’t only serve fish and chips, but it is what most people go there for since they do it so well. Everything is freshly cooked and the location is stunning – right by the sea so you can munch your chips with the sea air whipping around you…exactly as the meal is meant to be relished.
Walmer Fish and Chips
36 The Strand, Walmer CT14 7DX
Walmer Fish and Chips was started in 1997 by Italian couple, Luisa and Carlo, and their children, Giancarlo and Carolina, who have always worked there and have recently taken over the running of it making this a true family business. The key to the success of Walmer Fish and Chips is the excellent cooking, the family recipes and the use of the freshest ingredients which, when you are situated in Walmer, really is caught that very day.
Newington Fish Bar
55 Newington Road, Ramsgate CT12 6EW
Award-winning Newington Fish Bar offers an excellent selection of fish including the iconic cod and haddock, as well as cod fingers, scampi and plaice. The chips are of fantastic quality and if you want to try something different to the usual fayre, why not try the cheesy chips that are available? Burgers, pies, a variety of sausages and chicken, as well as lots of different sides mean you can have something different every time you come.
497 London Road, Ditton ME20 6DB
Papa’s Barn has always been at the forefront of the sustainable fish movement – even before it was something that everyone needed to know more about. Ever since opening in 1966, the fish on offer have been locally and ethically sourced. Papa’s is a takeaway and a restaurant, so no matter what your preference you can come to the same place and receive the same amazing food and superb customer service.
Star of the Sea
37 High Street, Broadstairs CT10 1LH
Star of the Sea has been voted as having the best chips in Kent, and if that doesn’t entice you to try them out then perhaps the fact that they have also won an award from the Potato Council will. As well as their incredible chips, there is an assortment of delicately cooked fish, burgers, kids’ meals and sides including the inimitable pickled egg to try! And they even deliver.
Marino’s Fish Bar
18 High Street, Edenbridge TN8 5AG
Eminently friendly and welcoming, Marino’s Fish Bar on Edenbridge’s quaint high street is always buzzing. The food is always exceptional and whether you’re a regular customer or you’ve popped in for a one-off treat, you’ll be welcomed like an old friend.
Mario’s Fish Bar
59 The Strand, Walmer CT14 7DP
Generous portions at a great price, crispy batter and chips to die for – that’s Mario’s Fish Bar in Walmer. Close to the sea where the fresh catch of the day comes in, there is no skimping on quality at Mario’s and the orders are always freshly prepared.
The Rod and Line
21 Littlestone Road, Littlestone TN28 8LN
It’s the homemade fishcakes that are most often mentioned when people recommend The Rod and Line, and they are indeed impressive. But there is a lot more to choose from too, including all the old favourites such as cod and rock, as well as some excellent sides. With queues out of the door more often than not, The Rod and Line is well worth sampling.