Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Restaurant Review: Masters Superfish

Eric Hobsbawm said that the combination of fried fish, a northern speciality, with chips from the south was a key symbol of the birth of class consciousness in Britain.  A fish supper by the seaside remains an evocative image and it is still one of the top take out foods in Britain - and what visiting luminaries like Clint Eastwood like to eat in pubs (apparently).  Its a shame then that most places do it so badly.  'Most places',  however, does not include Masters Superfish in Waterloo.  By reputation this is one of the best chippies in London and after recently testing it out myself I have to agree.

It doesn't look like much from the outside and it doesn't improve vastly when you're inside.  It's not unpleasant by any stretch, it just looks like it hasn't been changed at all since the 80s.  Actually this is part of its charm and that the food doesn't seem to have changed for the last 30 years is great.  Healthy eating, a steamed fish option and the like, have no place in a proper chip shop, so with that in mind I ordered a cod and chips with mushy peas on the side.  At lunch this comes to £8 with a pot of tea and some bread and butter, gherkins and a pickled onion.  Nearly a 1980s price.

The problems with most fish and chips are mainly small, but because it's such a simple thing, these problems get hugely magnified.  Common mistakes are: chips that aren't crispy, chips that aren't soft in the middle, batter that isn't crispy, batter that has soaked up too much grease and tastes like overused fat and fish that isn't fresh.  Masters avoids all of these problems.  Not only that it manages to add some positives that go above and beyond the call of duty.  The batter is actively delicious, the fish perfectly cooked, the chips lovely - it's also a very pleasant place to eat.  The waitresses and cooks seem to know almost everyone who comes in and were extremely friendly.  I enjoyed everything about my lunch here, and it absolutely blew the competition in the form of Olley's, Rock and Sole Plaice, etc, out of the water.  Heartily recommended!

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