Tripadvisor’s 2017 list of its top London restaurants might just surprise you. Forget about going to Gordon’s place… here’s where you should “really” eat in London.
When it comes to fine dining, London is NOW one of the world’s great gastronomic destinations, with a total of 79 Michelin stars (the only city in Europe with more is Paris), but in the early ‘90s the height of sophistication could be summed up by a visit to a trattoria, some red-and-white checked tablecloths and a candle shoved into a hard straw-encased Chianti bottle. If you were feeling brave, you’d order daring dishes such as spaghetti bolognese. If you were playing it safe, you’d go for a prawn cocktail, followed by a steak so well done you could have worn it as a shoe.
Fast-forward to 2017, and the UK scene couldn’t be more different . In a city boasting so many Michelin stars, the annual TripAdvisor list of London’s top 10 restaurants is very surprising. You won’t find too many celebrity chefs here, and only one spot for a place granted star-status by the “Michelin Guide” : the Ledbury in Notting Hill area has two (soon a blog post about this restaurant).
Instead, the order of the day is good food, honestly served and reasonably priced, with most being neighborhood stalwarts in the suburbs as opposed to being slap-bang in the expensive districts of Mayfair, Knightsbridge or Soho. I’ve picked out one that you should visit and savour…
The Golden Chippy, 62 Greenwich High Road, London SE10 8LF
+44 (0)20 8692 4333
11 am to 11pm Monday to Saturday, noon to 11pm on Sunday.
So Greenwich. Greenwich is one of the most historic areas of London, and famously home of the Royal Observatory, the beautifully restored Cutty Sark (the world’s sole surviving tea clipper) and any number of handsome Georgian properties and buildings from around the early 18th century. You’ll find The Golden Chippy down the High Road away from the most genteel part of Greenwich and towards the distinctly more urban Deptford. It’s a classic London chippy, on a street corner but, with a covered terrace with patio heaters for those who want to eat their food on-site.
In 2016, TripAdvisor had The Golden Chippy at number 1, and the business exploded from there. Now you Google “best fish and chips in London” and up they come! There are two reasons for this success. One is the quality : the fish come from a supplier they’ve used for years. They don’t buy from Billingsgate (London fish market), they have deals with individual skippers of fishing boats and will buy up the whole catch. The second reason : magic ingredient ! Such as lots of TLC and a little bit of beer.
There’s often a touch of snobbery when it comes to fish and chips in the UK. Northerners maintain that you can only get a decent serving in their half of the country, while those from down south are fiercely proud of what they can do with a fryer.
At The Golden Chippy you’ll see burgers, pies, and fried chicken all on the menu, but this place is all about the fish and chips and, geography aside, the result is outstanding. Expect a handsome piece of cod served fresh from the fryer, golden, crisp batter that’s light and tasty, with fresh flakes of white meat inside that slides off the fork. The chips are perfect, cut chunky and drowned in salt and vinegar. Add some tartare sauce (essentially mayonnaise sharpened with mustard or vinegar, lemon juice, capers and chopped gherkins). After that, you’re left with one of the finest examples of the art you could ever wish to try, all for a very, very reasonable £6.5 (large portion).