Haddock & chips from McMonagles
While visiting the United Kingdom, one of the quintessential meals to get is fish and chips. For those who never been to over the pond, the fish and chips dish is simply a choice of fried battered fish served with fried chips (a.k.a. potato wedges or fries to us Americans). The dish originally was served in a cone of white paper or newspaper, but in present day most vendors serve them on dish. The perfect fish and chips would have a thin, light and crispy batter that covers the flaky fish. The light batter is usually created by an addition of carbon dioxide through either a reaction between vinegar and baking soda in the batter or addition of a carbonated beverage (beer or seltzer). It is accompanied by chips that are thick cut with a soft inside and a crispy outside. Sometimes there are additional accompaniments, such as mushy peas, pickles, pickled onions, eggs, malt vinegar and tartar sauce. During my stay overseas, I was able to sample fish and chips from England and Scotland.
In the Southwark section of London is a little restaurant called Masters Super Fish. Arriving for an early dinner, the place is already packed with locals and tourists; which is always a sign of a good restaurant. Masters Super Fish offers a wide selection of fish to choose from (cod, plaice, huss, scampi, haddock and skate). I decided to choose the traditional cod fillet (£7.25). The dish was plated with the piece of fried cod served with tartar sauce, ketchup, a slice of lemon and bite-sized chips. The waitress also offers diners complementary side options of pickles and pickled onions table side upon service of the meal. The first cut into the cod you can hear the crispiness of the batter. The cod was flaky, buttery with a light crunchy batter that makes a perfect bite. The chips had a crispy exterior, yet possessed a soft interior. Overall the fish and chips were the best I had on the entire trip.
Sometimes the best food you find from research, and other times you find it on a whim. On the way back from exploring Inveraray Castle in the northwest region in Scotland, I drove past a restaurant just outside of the town of Glasgow in Clydebank. McMonagles instantly catches your eye by its unique building design. Its restaurant and take away service lies within a ship and proudly advertises its fish and chips. Haddock (£7.95) is offered as the main for their fish and chips dish. The haddock in comparison to the cod was also flaky, but more structurally held. The flavor of the haddock was more neutral and took on the flavor of the batter and oil it was fried in. The chips were thick like steak fries and had the interior texture similar to a baked potato. This dish was also very tasty, but I cannot give a true comparison between the fish since they were different types. I generally like cod fish over haddock, which is probably why I like the Masters Super Fish version over the McMonagles. However I would easily suggest both places.
If you happen to be in the United Kingdom, I would highly recommend going to Masters Super Fish. However if you are in the New York City area and are unable to visit the United Kingdom anytime soon, a good substitute is A Salt and Battery in the Little Britain section in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. They serve their fish with a very light crunchy batter. The price of the fish depends on its type and size. It is very comparable to the fish served at Masters Super Fish with a light crispy batter. However the chips cost extra ($5) and do not come with the fish. I thought the chips were a little bit on the soggy side. Therefore, go to A Salt and Battery for the fish, but you can skip on the chips.
For information on where to get the fish and chips, see below:
Masters Super Fish
191 Waterloo Road
London SE1 8UX
+44 020 7928 6924
Mon 1:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m., Tue-Sat 12 p.m. – 3 p.m., Tue-Thu 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m., Fri 4:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Closest Tube Stations: Lambeth North, Southwark & Waterloo
McMonagles Fish and Chip Restaurant
Clydebank G81 1QA
+44 0141 951 1333
Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
A Salt and Battery
112 Greenwich Ave. (Between 12 St & 13thStreets)
New York, NY 10011
Mon-Sat 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Sun 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Closest Subway Station: 14th Street (A, C & E trains)