UK / Europe

London’s chippie masters

Masters Superfish, Southwark, London

A casual ‘Chippie,’ traditional ‘British Fare,’ a ‘National Institution,’ a taste of ‘Heaven on a plate’…Whatever the cliché, Masters Super Fish in southeast London does Fish and Chips, served properly, so properly, even the Financial Times named it one of the best 5 fish and chip shops in the city.

Cabbies love it, and you can see and hear them most evenings.

Fish is brought in daily from Billingsgate Market, so their cod and haddock are incomparable.

Thick cut chips and a good size portion of freshly deep-fried cod will cost roughly £8-10.50. Amazingly, it comes with free bread and little prawns as a starter and extras like gherkin and pickled onions.

For the adventurous, there’s mushy peas and an optional mustard batter for the fish, that’ll have you hooked and gone to heaven.

Still, with all that, a feast for two costs less than £30.

The undisputed national dish of Great Britain, fish and chips were served together around 1860, however the fried fish and cooked potato trades existed for many years before this.

Fried fish was first introduced to London by Jewish immigrants from Portugal and Spain, probably as far back as the 17th Century. American President Thomas Jefferson described eating ‘fried fish in the Jewish fashion’ on a visit to London at the end of the 18th Century and even Charles Dickens makes reference to a fried fish warehouse in Oliver Twist and in A Tale of two Cities, in 1859.

The Brits will proudly tell you that fish and chips helped win the First World War, and during the Second World War, when reprieved from rationing, Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred to fish and chips as ‘Good Companions’.

Today, although some 10,500 businesses provide the nation with a massive volume of fish and chips, many businesses, like Masters Superfish are still family-owned independents, offshoots of the small family businesses, commonplace by the late 19th century, and run from the ‘front room’ of their house.

The proud owners of Masters Superfish are originally from Malta so they know their fish and it shows. There’s beer and wine of course, but for those in the know, the perfect accompaniment to their ‘heaven on a plate’ is a pot of hot tea.

The Old Vic and the Young Vic theatres are just round the corner, and the National theatre, the Hayward Gallery and Tate Modern are just a short walk away.

But before you leave, squeeze a pin on to their world map, to show how far you’ve come.

Amy Hughes

 

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