[London, SE1] Masters Superfish
It’s a year or so since I was last here. The business may have changed hands in that time. Certainly the staff have changed. Last time, everyone appeared to be Chinese. Now everyone appears to be east European.
Thankfully, the food hasn’t changed. There’s still a feeling of generosity here. It starts with the three freebie shell-on prawns and the freebie bread. Now, of course, nothing is really free in the restaurant business. And, truth be told, the baguette was no longer in the first flush of youth.
However, as to the main event:
Fish – enormous; big white flakes, perfectly cooked.
Batter – crisp (and stayed that way throughout) with no hint of oiliness
Chips – generous portion, fried to a crispness you don’t often see. Not even in the north.
Peas – mushy, but not so much as to be sludge. Green, but not lurid.
A plate of chippy food that’s almost northern in its quality. Or, at least, as good as the 5% of northern chippies that don’t offer oily, over-cooked food kept warm on the steamer shelf.
But you’d never mistake Masters for a northern chippy. Well, there’s the offer of freebie gherkins and pickled onions. What’s that all about , eh? And then there’s the opportunity to get alcohol. In a chippy!. And the fact that fish, chips and peas costs £11.50. No, that’s not a typo, it really did cost eleven pounds fifty. I mean, in Wigan, you can buy a house for not much more.
What did you order ? When I was there last month I'm sure the large cod'n'chips was less than a tenner. Is it really close to two quid for a portion of mushy peas ?
Regarding the crispy chips - I thought they were absolutely superb, but both my dining companions complained that they weren't "proper" chip shop chips. "Proper" ones aren't as crispy, as far as they were concerned.
And as for the freebie baguette, that would be my only (very minor) quibble about Masters. Plain white sliced bread, surely ? How is one supposed to construct a buttie with one inch slices of baguette ?
I'd agree with your dining companions about the chips. For perfection, "proper" chippy chips need a hint of wobble - not the oily flaccid things you get in most places, but not as crisp as American fries. These were overcrisp - but I prefer that to flaccid (unless I'm eating takeaway straight from the paper when oily and flaccid is an absolute requirement).