The greatest little chippie

August 5, 2007

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I sing the praises of Toffs, the greatest fish’n’chippe in north London – probably in Britain, and therefore, by default, the world. What makes it so special? The thin, crisp batter; the spanking fresh fish; the endless supply of perfect chips; the cheeky grinning staff. The owner who resembles a baby diplodocus and always tries to flog you the expensive halibut fillet, when all you want is the bog-standard haddock.

The old-fashioned, wood-panelled and mirrored interior. The pleasure of eating in a restaurant where they concentrate on cooking one dish to perfection, without fuss or frills, over and over again, for decades. The low-key buzz of an unpretentious local establishment, a pillar of the community. The third-hand glamour of framed and autographed c-list celebrity photos – Minty from Eastenders, Les Denis, Victoria Wood, Norman Wisdom.

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Is there a more satisfying colour combination than mushy peas, ketchup and chips, laid out generously on pure white tablecloth and sparkling white plates? These should be the colours of our national flag; I’d happily pledge allegiance to the green, red and yellow.

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Even the mauled remains of a plate of f’n’c is a pleasure to behold. The pattern of silvery fish scales on the inside of the discarded batter, sacrificed in the hope of leaving enough room for Spotted Dick and custard. The small puddle of congealing mushie peas, left aside as an offering to the patron saint of the chippy.

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There are three things which, for a contented existence, should be within staggering distance of the front door – a cinema with comfy seats; a boozer with a cuckoo clock and gurning locals; and a chippie like Toffs.

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10 Responses to “The greatest little chippie”

  1. crzy_rgntnn Says:

    It looks like MC found a good place to treat you for your 40th bday!

  2. Cloggie Says:

    Sounds like one of those hidden London gems. Shame I live south of the river.

    Nice to see you blogging again – especially as I was sitting back the other night flicking through a copy of delicious and saw you in there! Nice bit of PR mate, but now you’ve set an expectation for more regular posts! I’m looking forward to it.

  3. Kinson Says:

    Still not as good as Tate’s in Boston, Lincolnshire, but still up there in my top three…

  4. Debbie Says:

    A creative blogger award has landed in your apron pocket.

  5. Garfer Says:

    There is a chippie in Oban which can stand comparison with anywhere, even Rick Stein’s overpriced effort in Padstow.

    Chips fried in beef dripping, crisp batter, radioactive mushy peas: the full caboodle.

  6. Shelley Says:

    Toffs looks like posh fish ‘n’ chips to me, surely it’s illegal not to eat them out of the paper. Can a southern effort really be that good. I’ve never had any round here that come close to those from Yorkshire and NE. I’m with Garfer on beef dripping. My top 4 (can’t think of a worthy 5): The chippy by the church in Saltburn is fantastic, worth the wait in the queue. Eastgate Fisheries in Pickering and the chippy in Middleham are great. The pinnacle of f’n’c perfection were procured from a shed on some wasteland in Crook. I’ve no idea if it still exists or where exactly it was, it would seem that the large white sticky flakes of haddock, the light crisp batter and the dry fluffy chips messed with my head.


  7. my favourite is in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire!
    heres a old but good list http://observer.guardian.co.uk/foodmonthly/story/0,,645812,00.html

    enjoy!

  8. Sally Says:

    Just been reading an interview in the Evening Standard Magazine. It seems that Andy Serkis (Gollum in The Lord of The Rings films) loves Toff’s too …

  9. gastropunk Says:

    thanks for all your comments and tips on this post. sorry i didn’t reply til now – i’ve been internet-less for all of august. during the last 4 weeks of indulging in the great cuisines of Europe, the two foodie things i missed the most was toffs fish’n’chips and the trusty veg box. its good to be back

  10. Club Penguin Says:

    It took a little longer than usual for the post to load but i’m happy i waited.


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