Mayfair's option for easy, drop-in fish and chips just off Oxford Street
By all accounts, there are not many superstar options for fish and chips in London – bizarre that no one has jumped on this loophole. However, I have tried to find the best options and this hole in the wall-esque option a stone throw south from Selfridges and Marks and Spenser on Oxford St is a worthy consideration. Barring a slightly frosty reception from some of the waiting staff (seemingly fed up with a busy day), the chips here are very good and the portion control for the chips is good as are the lovely curry and tartare (with chopped shallot) sauces to accompany them. All cooked with vegetable oil I thought this was a worthy place to try and aside from the batter being a bit floppy soon after being served, it was still a good bite of haddock. If you want to avoid a cramped experience at their counters, book ahead for a table in the back (although this takes away some of the experience as you hide in a windowless back room) and also beware of the savings you do not make if you wish to eat in (see full review).
The Mayfair Chippy opened in 2013 and has two other branches, one in the city (north of Tower Hill and stone throw from Fenchurch St) and the other in Clapham (5 min walk east of the common). Although I have not yet been to either of these branches, if this has anything to go by, it would be a safe bet to try as there seems to be a little more effort gone in to this than a regular high street fish and chip shop, without question.
I liked the way that the tartare sauce was homemade and the crunch of the shallots was very good and the curry sauce itself was absolutely worthy of coming back for again just based on this. I dare say that chip shops up in the North of England where this concept originally hails from might also give their approval(!). The Icelandic fish here is sourced from Smales Seafood Wholesalers and had an enjoyable flavour.
Bizarrely there is no wifi and or reception in this small enclave of a shop, considering that you are in the middle of London, but a few minutes of not having connectivity is not the end of the world. What took a little getting over was the slightly abrupt interpersonal skill of one of the staff who seemingly found it strange that I had not booked. Sorry, I don’t subscribe to this – if ever there was a place that should be relatively accepting of walk-ins, it is a walk-in fish and chip shop. This aside, he did finally warm-up and ended up being helpful once settled and the manager that could see the need, came to the rescue with very good hospitality thereafter.
A quick note on the difference in prices from eating in and out – be careful not to be seduced by the menu on the wall at the til on walking in as this pertains to eating out specific prices. To give an idea, whilst I had no wifi, I compared the prices of four signature dishes to have in and to have out and totted the percentages up. They are as follows:
- Scampi = 20% cheaper if take away (£14.50 reduced to £11.50)
- Haddock = just under 30% cheaper (£10.95 reduced to £7.70)
- Softshell crab burger = 35% cheaper if take away (£14.50 > £9.50)
- Classic fish and chips = 30% cheaper (£16.50 > £11.75)
I appreciate there are always overheads to any restaurant and perhaps the real story is that they are generous in reducing the prices for taking away, but one can’t help but feel the sting in the opposite way for choosing to eat in. A 35% increase in price for the same item to have in seems rediculous and I would argue that they should all be at the same percentage for eating out as it is unlikely this affects the food differently.
That aside, the moral I learned was if you like softshell crab, get it to go and otherwise this is a cosy and smarter looking place to have your nicely presented fish and chips in London.
Food Grade: 63%
Location (Click google logo for directions)