Ask the rest of the world about the UK’s cuisine and along with Sunday roasts, fish and chips will roll off their tongue. Let them scoff, the dish is a damn national treasure with chippies responsible for saving on average one hungover person per day* (*statistic not verified). Imagine a childhood without stodgy chips and flakey battered fish - tear-jerking, right? Sutton and Sons is a family-run fish and chip shop with three outlets and a fishmonger across London; we head to Stoke Newington to see if they live up to their name.
Forget greasy white tables and a dank smell of lost dreams, Sutton and Sons put neighbourhood cute back into fish and chip shops with beach shack interiors and bunting. The Stoke Newington branch was buzzy with groups sat outside or workers waiting for their takeaway near the counter. We may be miles from the sea but wooden picnic benches and blackboards with the weekly specials give the spot a seaside vibe.
Coming from Devon and having spent most of my life in a fishing village, I like to think I know a thing or two about our national dish, from the correct squidginess of a chip through to how crispy the batter should be. I was dubious of claims that London’s fish could be as fresh, but Sutton and Sons are working with 20 years of experience. The family chain buy their fish from day boats every morning and the specials rotate according to what’s in season. If you’re looking to spice up a weekday night, do three courses in this chippy. We kicked off with three fried oysters (£5.95) which were light and juicy with a squirt of lemon juice. Crab cakes (£4.95) were similarly as good as two little balls came accompanied with a paprika-style mayo.
The restaurant serves several fish for mains, most of which can either be battered and fried or grilled. I went for a grilled seabass (£11.95) which came out whole and covered in herbs and seasoning, good enough to rival any swanky seafood restaurant. Battered cod (£10.50) was similarly as gourmet and both came piled with chunky chips and a little pot of mushy peas. Still not swayed about fish and chips? A bottle of house plonk starting at £16.50 will change your mind, along with a selection of East London beers.
Despite feeling nauseously full, we persevered on through dessert; ignore the haters and get a battered Mars Bar (£3.95). It may have a cholesterol-rocketing level of fat, but boy, is it worth the early death, especially when paired with vanilla ice-cream. Mrs Sutton’s sticky toffee pudding (£4.50) was also a treat. I thought you couldn’t do it, London, but Sutton and Sons have proved to me that fish and chips in the city can be utterly delicious.