Pick of the best fish and chips shops

South Shields, Tyne and Wear
Tel: 0191 456 1202 FIND OUT MORE
Famous for its fish and chips since 1926, Colmans is a former Fish and Chip Shop of the Year. Coming from a family with more than 100 years’ experience in the industry, owner Richard Ord’s commitment to sustainability and local sourcing makes Colmans stand out from the crowd.
Only wild fish from local day boats in North Shields and Sunderland is used, with Richard selecting the fish at market himself. He says: “I handpick it every morning and if they haven’t got it, we don’t sell it, it’s as simple as that. Our customers know that the fish we buy is the best available that day.”
This means that the daily-changing seasonal menu can include gurnard, turbot and even lobster, alongside line-caught cod and haddock from well-managed, sustainable Icelandic waters. “Sourcing like this is the way forward for our industry,” says Richard. “We are very passionate about it.” And it’s not just the fish that is eco-friendly. All the packaging at Colmans is biodegradable too.

D Fecci & Sons
Tenby, Pembrokeshire
Tel: 01834 842484
Opened in 1935, D Fecci & Sons in the coastal town of Tenby not only uses local fish, but also locally-grown potatoes for its chips. Cod and haddock from Milford Haven are still the best-sellers here, served with mushy peas cooked to a secret recipe. The chips are made on the premises every day from potatoes grown on the same farm for the past 20 years.
Owner Delmon Fecci says: “We don’t buy our potatoes from anyone else and the farm doesn’t supply any other chip shop. Our potatoes can be picked in the morning and fried the same evening.” D Fecci & Sons is also one of the few fish and chip shops to offer customers wheat-free fish, coated in a batter of ground rice and potato and fried in its own special fryer.

Stein’s Fish & Chip Shop
Padstow, Cornwall
Tel: 01841 532700 FIND OUT MORE
Launched in 2004, Stein’s Fish and Chips stands on the seafront at Padstow, next door to the celebrity chef’s delicatessen.
Choose your fish and wait while it is cooked or sit down in the restaurant area, with its scrubbed wooden tables and slate flooring.
As befits the nation’s most famous seafood chef, the menu is extensive and of the highest quality. Due to the sheer volume sold, cod comes from Icelandic waters but the majority of the other fish is British, from St Ives fishmongers Matthew Stevens & Son.
Rick Stein also works closely with Seafood Cornwall, an organisation that collaborates with fishermen, harbour authorities and fish merchants to ensure that every fish landed is sustainable and of the highest standard possible.

Thornton Fisheries
Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire
Tel: 01253 858668
As a former chef with a background in Michelin-starred restaurants, Paul Edmonds knows the importance of quality and consistency. “My mantra is that if you’re not prepared to eat it yourself, you shouldn’t expect your customer to,” says Paul, who returned to run this family business three years ago.
With more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, Paul is a firm believer in responsible sourcing. He stocks cod, plaice and halibut sourced from well-managed fishing areas in Norway and Iceland, as well as pollack caught at nearby Fleetwood and haddock from Peterhead in Scotland.
“We make sure all our fish is sustainable and seasonal,” adds Paul. “It just means that we have to tailor the menu to what’s available at the time.”

The Merchant Fish Bar
Bewdley, Worcestershire
Tel: 01299 402787
A favourite with locals for more than 25 years, the Merchant Fish Bar is a family business situated on the River Severn in the small historic town of Bewdley.
Owner Kyriacos Akathiotis handed over the reins to son Anthony four years ago and regulars include rock legend Robert Plant, who is often spotted queuing up for his haddock and chips.
Anthony only sources sustainable fish, and although the cod and haddock come from Icelandic waters, native hake often makes an appearance, as well as plaice and Scottish salmon.
Anthony says: “More young people are showing an interest in sustainable species and they often order fish like plaice, pollack and coley.”

Anstruther Fish Bar
Anstruther, Fife
Tel: 01333 310518 FIND OUT MORE
Crowned the 2008 National Fish and Chip Shop of the Year, the Anstruther Fish Bar is as well known for its famous customers as its renowned fish and chips. Robert De Niro and Tom Hanks have both visited and Prince William was a regular customer during his university days at St Andrews.
Owners Alison and Robert Smith have 30 years’ experience in the industry and several generations of their family have worked in the fishing industry around Fife since the 1600s.
The Smiths also run their own fish processing business, supplying hand-filleted local haddock, most of it from Aberdeen and Peterhead, to fish and chip shops across Scotland, including their own.

The Fish Shed
Topsham, Devon
Tel: 01392 878200 FIND OUT MORE
Part of a larger farm shop and food hall, The Fish Shed is a fishmonger and fish and chip shop combined.
Owned and managed by fishmonger David Kerley for the past five years, it’s a place where people can look at the wet fish counter, pick the fish they want
and then let the chefs cook it to their liking – simply grilled or deep-fried.
Only the freshest, locally caught fish is used, most of it straight off the local day boats. David buys directly from the boats at Exmouth and Brixham, which means the fish has been caught and landed within 12 hours. He usually knows who caught the fish and where it comes from too, whether it’s scallops from Lyme Bay, John Dory from Exmouth or red mullet from Brixham.
“If we can’t get it locally, we don’t put it on the menu,” says David.

J Thompson
Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk
Tel: 01493 728006
There has been a fish and chip shop on this site since 1926, when the original owner used to take his own boat out fishing, clean and gut the fish, and fry it with chips in a coal-fired fryer.
Graham Plant and his son, Ryan, took over from family friend John Thompson two years ago, but the former owner now works as a part-time frier for them during the week. Between them, they maintain the tradition of cooking almost exclusively locally caught fish from Lowestoft, as well as fish caught by their customers.
The Plants specialise in line-caught cod and haddock, but skate is one of the biggest sellers. Plaice and lemon sole on the bone is also a particular favourite with locals, when it is in season. All the fish is fresh, rather than frozen, and cooked to order, but many regulars simply phone their order in advance.

This article appears in issue 22 of Countryfile Magazine. Never miss an issue by subscribing today.



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