Britain is home to the Beatles and the Royals but a serving of fish and chips, with lashings of vinegar and salt, has to be what the country is most famous for. Here are seven of the most authentic fish and chip shops in Brighton:
Say what you like about British cuisine but when it comes to putting fish with fried potatoes in a bit of paper the little island still takes some beating. Good fish and chips can be found everywhere and Brits have no time for poor quality. Soggy batter? Frozen chips? Mushy peas with too much mush? Not enough vinegar? We’re looking at you. Instead the fish should be crispy and light, the chips hand cut and soft in the middle, and all accompanied by rich mushy peas, a crunchy pickled onion, and chip shop curry sauce if you must. With its close proximity to London, long pebbly beaches, intricate mazes of cobbled alleyways and perfectly preserved Victorian parks, seaside town Brighton is one of the best places to visit if fish and chips is on your mind, whether as a lunch on the pier or a stomach filler before a night on the tiles. It is naturally filled with many good (and a few very bad) fish and chip shops – here are seven of the most authentic:
If you’re looking for a bit more of an experience from your fish and chips than fighting a hungry seagull on a park bench, English’s is the place to head to. English’s claims to be Brighton’s oldest fish and chips joint, and it shows in the impeccably-presented Sussex ale battered haddock loin, chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce. If you’re feeling fancy there are all sorts of other wonderful things to sample, from Bloody Mary oyster shot with vodka and tabasco to garlic tiger prawns. But the fish and chips has to be sampled, with a light crisp to the batter that can only come from years of practice. No wonder the restaurant counts the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Judi Dench among its past customers.
29-31 East Street
Bankers has got the right balance between a proper spit and sawdust fish and chip shop and something more upmarket – it feels authentic and you could take the in-laws there for lunch. But what you really want to do at Bankers is grab one of the fancy cardboard boxes full of sustainable fish – you can pick cod, guilt free – and the just perfect chips, uniform in size and firm not stodgy, and march down to the nearby seafront before it gets cold. Bankers manages to serve everything fresh and delightfully grease free – just add seafront and pebbles for the authentic fish and chips experience.
116a Western Road
This cheery old school chippy has been running since 1926 and is about as authentic as it gets. The interiors are like a pre-war scrapbook, vintage posters for swing nights and Max Miller gigs decking the walls, updated with smart wooden furniture. The plumb, moist servings of deep fried fish, creamy mushy peas and the hot, fresh and plentiful portions of chips mean that many people in Brighton call Bardsleys the very best. The friendly service is hard to beat too, with a ‘love’ and ‘darling’ thrown in with the order. It’s a bit of a walk from the seafront but worth it.
23A Baker Street
Palm Court Restaurant
Counting celebrity scientist-cum-chef Heston Blumenthal as one of its fans, the Palm Court Restaurant is perhaps a slightly contentious addition. Let’s just say it, there are probably better fish and chips peppered around Brighton (definitely) at better prices but for an all round authentic experience it’s hard to beat. It’s in the sea, or thereabouts, perched on the late Victorian Palace Pier. Enjoy views over the English Channel while you chomp on succulent cod or haddock, cooked in the Palm Court’s signature crispy batter. For 24 quid you even get a glass of champagne alongside it. A top tip is to turn up just before the sun is setting for the best views and definitely, definitely take the roller coaster at the ended of the pier before you eat.
Madeira Drive, Brighton Palace Pier
The Regency Restaurant
It’s easy to stop off at the many lesser fish and chip shops on the seafront on the way to The Regency – don’t do it. With it’s perfect spot next to the beach, this was the mods’ favourite place to refuel before a ruckus with some rockers on the pebbles. The time warp hoarding outside displays the wares, from mussels and crab to lobsters and fresh fish, and from inside you can eat fish and chips while wondering when the last fragments of the old pier will finally fall into the sea. While the Extravaganza Shellfish Platter at £74.50 is definitely one to try on payday, the reasonably priced cod, haddock or place (all £13.50 with chips) are the staples at the heart of The Regency. The chips are perfectly golden with a light crisp and the batter crispy and puffy. The food comes incredibly fast too, with the service a well-oiled machine. Nice cocktails too.
131 Kings Road
RYBKA (the fish likes to swim)
If you are the kind of person who thinks, what fish and chips really needs an accompaniment is craft beer and a DJ, new eatery RYBKA is here to save the day. Tucked away in the South Lanes, this updated chippy – the name refers to Polish saying ‘rybka lubi pływać’ about fish and vodka, meaning ‘the fish likes to swim’ – has all the frills to keep the hipsters happy, but manages to be both style and substance. Already receiving rave reviews, the fish is responsibly sourced (of course), the chips chunky and the batter the crispiest in town. It’s all served on a metal canteen tray because plates are so yesterday.
41 Meeting House Lane
The No Catch Co.
Proof that authentic fish and chips don’t actually need to contain fish at all, step forward No Catch. This was the first vegan fish and chips shop in Brighton and came about after the founders travelled the UK giving out tofish to a positive reception. Indulge in chip shop classics, remixed without the fish, like popcorn prawnz, smoked haddock and tofish bites and be amazed that it does actually taste pretty close to the real thing. The chips are legit too and side orders include baked beans – what more can you want? Even if this is just an occasional alternative, it is a greener and more morally correct way of enjoying one of Britain’s favourite foods.
127a Kings Road