This prettily-located chippy now loudly proclaims the formerly little-known fact that it was established in 1939. It is only very recently, however – since its acquisition by the Embassy (Mayfair nightclub) people – that it has got in touch with its heritage side.
The battered former appearance of the place (ho ho) has now been swept away, and it boasts décor in a whole sample-card of shades of grey. The impression this gives is undeniably chic, even if it owes more to New England than to Kensington.
The food struck us as similarly displaced: plucked from its roots, it just didn’t quite feel right. Take, for example, the humble prawn cocktail: a known and usual dish if ever there was one. But this one wasn’t: it was a prawn-and-avocado cocktail. It was yellow rather than pink. And it came in an oddly-shaped vessel that tipped. nodding-donkey-style, when each spoonful was taken. None of these developments was an advance on tradition.
There is also the size issue. This is the first fish ‘n’ chip shop we’ve ever left feeling hungry, such was the enthusiasm for portion-control. This extended not only to the main dishes, but also to the accompaniments. (Some of these, however, such as the crispy onion rings, were very good.) The choice of puds was not inspiring, so we chose ice cream, which was fine.
As we left from our early supper, there was already a steady flow of vaguely fashionable diners arriving, most of whom – perhaps inspired by favourable reviews elsewhere – had clearly booked. A chippy for which you book? You wouldn’t have got that in 1939?