Every summer, I visit my parents in London for a long weekend. This year, I had a yen for a spot of afternoon tea — scones! clotted cream! strawberry jam! — but when I rang Brown’s Hotel (voted Top London Afternoon Tea by the Tea Guild — whoever they are) I discovered they require a booking of at least two weeks in advance. What ranks next in the British pantheon of cuisine? Fish and chips. And so, I found myself at Masters Super Fish.
I believe Masters Super Fish is what’s known as a “chippie” and a slightly grim air hung over the place — linoleum floors, fluorescent lighting, an efficient (but not exactly friendly) bustle from the Asian-British owner. The menu offers a small array of fried food, but I went straight for the lunch special: cod, chips and a good old fashioned cuppa for the bargain basement price of 6.95 pounds. There’s also plaice, or huss (otherwise known as rock salmon) and a side of mushy peas for a supplement.
But before the fish came the complimentary starter, a few rosy boiled shrimp, a bit of bread and butter. The prawns were sweet and firm, the bread mushy and forgettable. But who wants to fill up on bread, anyway?
Not when you have this to look forward to: sparkling fresh, flaky cod (which hails from London’s famous fish market, Billingsgate), encased in a crisp shell that billows steam when you slice through it. Chips hot from the fryer, a little soggy (just the way I like them), dashed with malt vinegar. Mushy peas, properly lurid green and stodgy. Heaping piles of pickled cucumbers and onions to provide a counterpoint of crunch and acid. A cup of milky tea to wash it all down. The food was so fresh (and freshly fried) — without even a hint of rancid oil — that it almost turned the greasy spoon environs charming. And the meal is certainly filling enough to keep you satisfied for the rest of the day. The only thing missing was the newspaper wrapper (though surely that’s available in the takeaway version?).
Masters Super Fish
191 Waterloo Road
London SE1 8UX
tel: 0207 928 6924
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