Friday, 13 February 2015

Fish & Chips in Bath

Whenever we visit the grandchildren in Lancashire we try to fit in a meal at the fish and chip restaurant at Boundary Mill, Colne. Banny's   has two spacious dining rooms which must seat at least 200 people. It is usually full when we visit.  Fish and chips is available in every town but often fails to reach perfection for one of two reasons. The traditional chippy often puts too much batter on the fish when a light touch produces a far superior product. Pubs and restaurants on the other hand never use fresh potatoes: they are wedded to frozen fries  which have no substance. Fish restaurants in the north of England by and large have cracked this and consequently are popular. In the south of the country seating is seldom provided and take-away is often the only option. A disadvantage of  this is that the chips go soggy when wrapped.
In Bath there are several chippies but few with seating. The best we had found until today was  The Fat Fryer    in Batheaston. But there is a new contender arrived in Monmouth  Place, not far from Queen Square. The  highly regarded Scallop Shell fish and chip restaurant has come down the hill from White Row Farm   where they also have a fishmongers.As we had to vacate the house  for the estate agents to show it to potential buyers we decided to try it out, despite the rain.

I can't remember what business occupied the site before but have a vague recollection of a school uniform shop somewhere along here.

Decor is distinctly rustic/nautical with ropes across the ceiling. wood plank walls and painted concrete floor.

Plenty of seats well spaced

All the fish is cooked in beef dripping  and has a batter so thin you can see through it - lots of Gecko points there!

Prices, unsurprisingly, are about 50% higher than at Banny's

The selection of fish is good and includes Mackerel and Gurnard

When you are seated you make up your own order by completing the menu/order form and taking it to the kitchen hatch.

The food arrived on the seemingly obligatory rectangular plates loved by gastropubs and it did not disappoint.

The tartare sauce appeared truly home-made and really creamy. Personally I prefer it a little more piquant but M was very pleased with it.

The Haddock portion was considerably smaller than the Cod loin but both were very tasty..

Definitely one to add to our recommended  list.

One disappointment and one query.
By the time we had finished our fish the restaurant had filled up and we were unable to attract the attention of a member of staff to order dessert from. Hence we left without sampling the poached winter fruits with cider sorbet or reacquainting ourselves with a Knickerbocker Glory. This needs addressing. The staff were not too busy: they were inattentive, preferring to check the state of their hair than the status of the diners. 
My query is whether the arrangement with diners completing their own order forms really works. Apart from the waste of paper, it  is not possible to ask questions of an order form (What is Gurnard?) and the opportunity to sell further items, like drinks or bread and butter is lost. This should be reconsidered.

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