Are you a conscientious cook who will only buy fish from someone who can tell you where, when and how it was caught? If so the eight words you most want to see or hear at your chippy may be the same as those you expect from your fishmonger:
Our fish locally sourced from British Coastal Fisheries.
Important as it is to seek out fish locally caught from sustainable sources whenever possible these are not my eight magic words. The most beautiful words to hear at any fish & chip shop are those spoken to all by the server at Kerbisher EC1, the new takeaway branch of the London chippy Kerbisher & Malt:
That will be about six to seven minutes.
Her message was intended as a warning to hurried lunchers passing in the vicinity of Exmouth Market and the Mount Pleasant Mail Centre. I embraced it as a guarantee that all fish was fried to order. With fish and chips fresh from the fryer is as essential as fresh from the sea.
The cocoon encasing my Kerbisher cod had the sure but ilelicate crunch of a carefully battered fillet that had been lifted from the hot oil only seconds before. Its plump sections of opaline white cod where almost lobsteresque.
Some chippies are so busy they have no problem serving freshly fried fish on demand. With a sustainable source of local customers no fillet sits for very long in the windowed range. It drains and it goes.
But quieter shops face a dilemma: Prepare the fish in advance and let it wither under the heat lamps until someone claims it or prepare it to order and let impatient customers wither with hunger.
From my standpoint there is no brainer. For fish and chips I have golden rule:
I’d rather wait for my fish and chips than have my fish and chips wait for me.
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