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The Mayfair Chippy
Nothing better than traditional
fish and chips. It’s nostalgic comfort food, at least if you are
British. We all have memories of queueing up in a
white-tiled shop with steamy windows, a high counter with glass jars of
pickled gherkins and eggs, bottles of brown vinegar and salt shakers.
For those who hail from beyond these shores that
emporium of fried delights was called ‘the chippy’.
Located on the northern edge of this classy neighbourhood, the Mayfair
Chippy is also handy for the shopping
thoroughfare of Oxford Street with its many fashion outlets but few
worthy restaurants. The Mayfair Chippy sports an AA
Rosette and appears in the Michelin Guide 2016, so its culinary
credentials are impeccable - and so is the restaurant.
The local chippy is a well-loved institution so I was curious to see
how both the swep-up location and a demanding diner base
would translate into a traditional restaurant that would be acceptable
to the chippy purist. Well, they have managed it with
flair and little compromise.
The Mayfair Chippy is a small restaurant and cosy. There are high
stools, more intimate banquettes, some marble-topped
tables and white tiles as a nod to its roots. It’s light and
contemporary but with accents from a past era - a beautiful balance
that works perfectly here. There are still bottles of
vinegar and glass cruets to assure the prospective diner that
continuity has not been displaced by the zest for short-lived designer
Fish and chips is unsurprisingly the speciality at the
Mayfair Chippy, but they also offer other traditional classic
British dishes, some of which change with the seasons. They have a
celebrated Shepherd’s Pie made with braised Lamb Shoulder, and a
periodic Steak and Kidney Pudding, as well as Longhorn Rib Steak and
Chips with Roast Garlic, Anchovy and Parsley butter.
There is a beer and wine list at The Mayfair Chippy but somehow a nice
cuppa always fits the bill with fish and chips at
lunchtime. They have an array of tempting starters and not all of them
are piscatorial. Home-made Black Pudding Fritters with a
side of Apple Sauce came highly recommended and they were delicious,
with delicate seasoning and a bit of a crunch. This is a take on an
old-fashioned favourite and well worth a try.
The Crab on Toast is a stunner and should be
another signature dish here. Cornish Crab with avocado, spiced
tomato and fennel cress is moreish, well-flavoured and a must-try. This
with a glass of chilled white to start a dinner would be perfect.
But the main event was always going to be the Mayfair Classic: Fried
cod or haddock, chips, mushy peas, pickle, tartare sauce and chip-shop
curry sauce. All served on a wooden platter with the fish and chips in
a metal frying-basket. The fish was moist, the batter light and not at
all greasy - and then there were those condiments. Mushy peas made with
pulled ham hock is absolutely right. Chip-shop Curry Sauce might sound
strange but will be familiar to chippy-goers. It’s not
like a sauce for an Indian curry but a sweet spicy gravy that has
become popular over the past few decades.
There are other items on the menu which might alarm the
untutored: Scraps (when available, it states) are those frilly crunchy
bits of batter that
float off when the fish is lowered into the oil. I think they are
called scraps as they are worthy of being fought over.
Battered Wally will likely be a mystery to many. We won’t go into the
naming of this exotic garnish but suffice to say it’s a
whole pickle that has been battered and deep-fried. It’s for the
There is a decent selection of desserts here. The Warm Chocolate
Pudding is striking, with a flow of molten chocolate
pooling around Salted Caramel Ice Cream (which could be a dessert in
its own right) with a generous sprinkle of Cinder Toffee – that’s the
golden crunchy honeycomb of childhood memories.
The Mayfair Chippy has managed to present
traditional and casual food with style. The restaurant is a pleasant
place to be, the food is first class in every regard. Word is getting
around so best to book in advance. That’s what I’ll be doing.